Woman faces three-year pet dog ownership ban following string of dog attacks.
In the recent decision of City of Tea Tree Gully v Danielle Jessica Marie Potter , the Adelaide Magistrates Court has determined that a series of dog attacks may lead to a prohibition on dog ownership.
The City of Tea Tree Gully (the Informants) sought a ban on Danielle Jessica Marie Potter (the Defendant) from acquiring any dogs following a series of dog attacks. The Defendant, who failed to appear in court, faced charges under Section 44 of the Dog and Cat Management Act 1995 for owning a dog that attacked a woman in Holden Hill. Section 44 of the Act states that a person who owns or is responsible for the control of a dog is guilty of an offence if the dog attacks, harasses, chases, or otherwise endangers the health of a person or animal.
The Defendants’ Staffordshire Terrier, named "Buddy" (Buddy) escaped from the Defendant’s premises and violently attacked a woman who was walking her dog along a street on 17 February 2023 (the Incident). The victim suffered severe injuries, including bite wounds to her left arm, right wrist, and back, requiring ambulance transportation to the hospital. The Incident left the victim knocked to the ground multiple times and with nerve and tendon damage.
The Defendant had previously contested a council order to euthanise Buddy, resulting in a destruction order being upheld after a hearing by the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT). The Informants revealed that the Defendant had a history of owning aggressive dogs and had also been investigated by the RSPCA in 2016. When the RSPCA attended the Defendant’s property, they found a 60kg pig owned by the Defendant, as well as another dog, had been attacked.
Further, in September 2022, two dogs owned by the Defendant were involved in attacks that made them the subject of orders under the Dog and Cat Management Act and Control (Menacing Dog) Orders.
Buddy was also involved in an attack against a 70-year-old and her dog prior to the Incident. Buddy was then involved in another attack six days later.
Despite the Defendant’s absence in court, the Informants urged Magistrate Kate White to convict the Defendant and order payment of court costs.
The court highlighted the severity of the Incident, describing the Incident as vicious and detailing the extensive injuries sustained by the victim. Despite the Defendant’s history of contesting orders related to her animals, including an unsuccessful attempt to prevent the euthanising of Buddy, the court found against her and Buddy was euthanised.
The Defendant was convicted and the court imposed a fine of $500 as well as $724 for court costs.
The court imposed a ban on the Defendant from owning any animals until November 2027.
Take Home Messages
The case underscores the gravity of irresponsible pet ownership and the potential dangers posed by aggressive dogs. Owners need to take appropriate measures to control and manage their dog, preventing them from posing a threat to others.
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