The fight to save big Bruce from death row

Chris and Kevin Thomas of Ipswich are trying to prevent their bull mastiff Bruce from being euthanised by the Ipswich City Council.
Chris and Kevin Thomas of Ipswich are trying to prevent their bull mastiff Bruce from being euthanised by the Ipswich City Council. David Nielsen

THE owners of a declared dangerous dog are taking on Ipswich City Council to save it from being put down after it attacked a meter reader in their backyard.

Despite displaying eight signs warning that a dangerous dog was on the property, the Energex meter reader entered two series of gates to access the meter at the back of the Denmark Hill home where he was bitten by the dog.

Council seized and impounded the dog after the attack in August and it is set to be put down on October 16.

Owners Kev and Chris Thomas set up a Facebook page this week to help save their dog Bruce from being destroyed.

They will be appealling the decision before the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

The family keep Bruce as a guard dog but described the eight-year-old bull arab cross bull mastiff as a "gentle giant".

"He's a guard dog and he's one of the biggest, softest dogs you'd ever come across," Mr Thomas said. "He's fantastic with the grandkids. But he is protective."

On the Facebook page Bruce the bull mastiff tells his followers "I only have three weeks to live, not because I have a terrible disease, not because I have been in a bad accident, but because the Ipswich City Council want to kill me.

"I don't have a voice, but hopefully social media will help you find my voice. I hope you will listen."

Since it was set up on Tuesday, the Save Bruce Facebook page has attracted more than 3900 likes, more than 360 comments and more than 860 shares.

Bruce was originally declared dangerous by the council in 2010 after he bit a council animal management officer on the hand while he was inspecting fencing at the property.

A council spokesman said a destruction order was always considered a last resort.

FACEBOOK PLEA: Bruce the dog has been impounded with plans to be destroyed after an attack in August.
FACEBOOK PLEA: Bruce the dog has been impounded with plans to be destroyed after an attack in August. Contributed

He said the owners of Bruce have a long history of non-compliance dating from early 2010 when Bruce was reported as roaming and complaints were received about the aggressive nature of the dog.

The spokesman said the Thomas family did not meet conditions of keeping a declared dog by not providing adequate signage, not housing it in a compliant regulated dog enclosure and by not getting him desexed within three months of notice being issued. In May 2013 further advice was given in lieu of a fine and further warnings were issued.

As a result of the attack the Energex meter reader required hospitalisation for four days.

An Energex spokesman said the property was logged in their system as housing a dangerous dog but the meter reader had been familiar with the property and believed he could enter the backyard.

Bruce was on the veranda at the time of the attack as one person was home.

The council spokesman said unless the dog is under direct supervision it must be housed in an enclosure under the house at all times as a declared dangerous dog.

"It will be alleged that at the time of the attack, the dog was not confined to its legally required enclosure," he said.

Mr Thomas said the requirements of the State Goverment's Animal Management Act made it difficult for a homeowner to keep a guard dog.

"We have Bruce inside the house and on the veranda. If somebody comes in this house uninvited he's there to look after us, so that I don't have to worry about going downstairs and finding out that my granddaughter has gone" Mr Thomas said.

"When we're at home that's why he's with us for our protection.

"We are prepared to do anything to keep the council happy. We just want Bruce back."

Ipswich City Council has offered the owners the option of rehousing the dog in another local government area, should that council agree.

Help save Bruce from death row - The Petition

Topics:  dangerous dogs editors picks facebook ipswich city council queensland civil and administrative tribunal

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