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Dog on death row after biting incident

SAVE WINSTON: Jared Dittmann had his two-year-old dog Winston seized from his home and told it would be put down.
SAVE WINSTON: Jared Dittmann had his two-year-old dog Winston seized from his home and told it would be put down. Tara Cassidy

AN ANDERGROVE man has just six days left to save his dog, after it was seized for allegedly biting someone at their property.

Two-year-old staffy cross kelpie Winston will be put down unless owner Jared Dittmann and Mackay Regional Council can come to a resolution over an incident early morning six months ago.

There is no doubt someone was bitten by the family dog, but they have been at loggerheads over the details of the incident.

According to Mr Dittmann, Winston was let out of the yard by an intruder attempting to gain entry to their property via one of their six-foot secure fences.

Winston then bit the person while still in the undercroft area of their garage, the family says; the ordeal heard by a family friend who came outside to see what the commotion was between 4am-5am on March 25.

 

Winston was seized on September 3 for being 'dangerous'.
Winston was seized on September 3 for being 'dangerous'. Contributed

"She heard the dog and someone yelling profanity so she jumped up and saw someone at my mum's car," Mr Dittmann's sister Leesa said.

"The gate was shut; there's no way the dogs can get out without someone opening it. When I woke up myself we called police to let them know what had happened."

Ms Dittmann said council came to visit later that day, acting on a complaint from a person who was bitten.

Mr Dittmann later received two fines in the mail for having a wandering and dangerous dog, totalling over $1500, and almost six months after the incident is still in dispute with council over the course of events that morning.

 

Winston enjoying a ride in the car with his owner Jared.
Winston enjoying a ride in the car with his owner Jared. Contributed

In these situations, the council follows a declaration process, which includes providing a detailed notice for the owner to comply with the declaration.

If the owner fails to comply then council goes through a process to seize the dog.

On September 3, Ms Dittmann said council officers "and a police escort" arrived to seize the dog.

Mackay Regional Council said it had thoroughly investigated the issue and been in regular contact with the family.

"CEO Craig Doyle has investigated the matter and since June provided a detailed explanation of the situation and the necessary process the individual is required to follow for her dog to be returned," a council spokesperson said yesterday.

Mr Doyle said through council's own investigations and in statements received from witnesses and the person bitten, the situation differed greatly from the dog owner's view.

However the details of which could not be provided due to privacy.

"We have clearly explained how as an organisation we have a responsibility to follow relevant legislation of the Animal Management (Cats and Dogs Act) 2008 and strict privacy guidelines," Mr Doyle said.

"Council has advised the owner that the dog is to be declared a dangerous dog and if they followed due process, the dog could be returned to them.

"At this stage, the owner has failed to work with us so we are unable to release the dog at this time, owners have rights and we only act when they fail to comply with the state legislation."

"Seizing a dog is always the last resort."

Ms Dittman believes that the intruder pretended to be "a jogger running by (who claimed) the dogs were on the loose and attacked them".

Ms Dittmann said she has requested proof to the contrary and witnesses statements from council.

"I have a young child myself living here so if we genuinely felt the dog was dangerous we would understand," Ms Dittmann said.

"Or if they just showed us decent proof and reasoning for them taking the dog we might be more compliant but because we have just been given nothing and just had them randomly come take Winston one day, it's honestly just really distressing."

Mr Dittmann said Winston often played with children in the family, saying he felt the incident was out of character and must have been provoked.

 

Winston jumping on the trampoline with some children.
Winston jumping on the trampoline with some children. Contributed

"He's a happy dog and so playful, he's never done anything in the past to make me worry that he was aggressive," he said.

"We've also never had any complaints about him before, this is the first thing that's ever happened and they just took him straight away."

 

"It's just not right, we don't want to keep a dog that's an actual danger, but I don't want an innocent dog to die where it's not necessary either," Ms Dittmann added.

Topics:  dangerous animal dangerous dog dog bite dog seized editors picks local laws mackay regional council



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