Victims fear ‘dire consequences’ if dog attacks again
A DANGEROUS dog that mauled a Marian woman and her eight-month-old puppy had a history of blood lust known to council when it was returned to its owners.
Maree Halstead and her schnauzer Harvey were "hunted" by a large dog, just 200m from their home, in July.
Both Ms Halstead and her dog were left bleeding and injured in the attack, but the longer term scars may be invisible.
Ms Halstead said Harvey's life expectancy had been decreased as he had developed acute kidney damage because of the attack.
And the trauma of the attack meant Ms Halstead was scared to leave her home for a week after the incident, she said.
"I'm particularly stressed about this," Ms Halstead said.
"I'm coping badly."
Ms Halstead said her anxiety was made worse when Mackay Regional Council returned the dangerous dog to its Marian home without warning.
This was not the first time the same dog was taken away by council after an attack.
Exactly four weeks earlier the large dog attacked Marian resident Brian 'Chopper' Chopping and his dog Misty.
His wife, Desley Chopping said her husband and their dog were walking near Marian State School when the same large white dog began acting aggressively.
Mrs Chopping said the dog "stalked" her husband before launching at them while he tried to cross the road.
"He had an uneasy feeling about it, then it started running at them," she said.
Mrs Chopping said the dog attacked her husband and Misty in the middle of the road, stopping traffic.
She said passing motorists were able to pull the attacking dog off, but not before it "ripped open" Misty's belly.
It took 12 staples to close two large wounds in Misty's stomach and ribs, Mrs Chopping said.
She said her small boxer also had several puncture wounds around her back leg.
"The vet said we were very lucky with her because she is very fat, so they were superficial wounds," she said.
Mrs Chopping said while council officers took the violent dog away, it only took a few days before it was back in its yard.
When the dog was involved in a second attack, Ms Chopping said she knew it was the same animal that mauled her family.
"They knew immediately it was the same dog," she said.
"I feel angry that it happened again, and the severity of what happened."
Mrs Chopping said council had failed to protect the larger community by not permanently removing the dog after the two attacks.
"I do feel council has a lot to answer for," she said.
Community and Client Services director Angela Hays confirmed the same dog was involved in both attacks, and local laws officers spoke with its owner on both occasions.
"Council has declared the dog as a dangerous dog," Ms Hays said.
Ms Hays said putting an animal down was a last resort and council aimed to help pet owners gain compliance with dangerous dog conditions.
Mrs Chopping and Ms Halstead said they knew it would be a difficult and heartbreaking decision for the family to put down the dog, but they said the threat to the community was too great to allow it to stay.
"You can't have a dog like that roaming around the streets," Mrs Chipping said.
"If it gets a child, that could have dire consequences."
Both women said they feared for their families' safety, as well as the safety of other Marian residents, knowing the dog was back.
"I see people walking all the time with their dogs and children and prams," Ms Halstead said.
"I just want to go out there and say 'go home' because it could be any one of them.
"And it's going to happen again."