Dog attack on girl, 8, sparks call for animal control reform
A DOG attack is every parent's worst nightmare, but for Elliott Heads mum Dannielle Slater it became a terrifying reality, when a neighbour's dog attacked her daughter Amberly, 8.
Ms Slater was horrified when her neighbour's dog left her daughter bruised and scratched, in an unprovoked attack on February 18.
She recalled the dog first jumped at Amberly's father Chris Roach, before "it ran straight towards our daughter” and bowled her over.
Both parents know it could have been much worse.
And after lodging a report with animal control about the incident, the couple were told by an officer had told them the offending dog wouldn't be returned to the property next door.
But the couple were horrified to find out, just two weeks later, the dog was back.
"We were given no warning,” Ms Slater said.
"Given that we did live next-door I was disappointed and we were all shocked.”
Mr Roach said they were both confused as they hadn't even received a phone call from animal control or council, warning them the dog would be returned.
"We thought it would be part of a duty of care that they'd tell us it was coming back, but they (animal control) said it went through council and nobody needed to notify us,” Mr Roach said.
"If they'd have told us, we would have had time to mentally prepare her (Amberly).”
The couple were later told the council and animal control weren't under obligation to let them know the animal would be back.
Ms Slater and Mr Roach say the response was lacking, but when speaking with Division 6 councillor Scott Rowleson, he acknowledged "dangerous dogs and irresponsible owners are a common challenge for animal management in our region”.
"Its a lack of care and 'that's as good as it gets', is not good enough,” Ms Slater said.
"(In saying that) most dogs who get out don't always go and attack kids 10 metres from their home.”
Responding to questions sent by the NewsMail, a Bundaberg Regional Council spokeswoman said investigations were still unfolding.
The spokeswoman said it was also "normal procedure to return an animal under investigation to its property if an adequate enclosure can be provided”.
"The dog alleged to have been involved in the incident was immediately removed from the property while initial investigations were carried out,” the spokeswoman said.
"Council officers inspected the repaired fencing prior to authorising the dog's return.
"Details of a dog under investigation cannot be provided to anyone other than its owners under information privacy legislation.”
And while Mr Roach and Ms Slater are not looking for further consequences for the animal or its owners, they are left asking the question; what happens from here?
"Not all dogs are obedient, they have their own personalities but they should be integrated into the community and socialised with other dogs and get used to people,” Ms Slater said.
"Animal control and council need to re-look at how they handle animal control in Bundaberg ... what are council doing to stem the growing issue of dogs getting out in the area?”