Cooloongup: Dog owners fined $13,000 for attack on neighbour’s terrier

A jack russell terrier named Sateen lost a leg in the attack. Stock picture
A jack russell terrier named Sateen lost a leg in the attack. Stock picture

TWO people who pled not guilty in a bid to save their dog from being put down after it ripped a limb off another dog now have to pay more then $13,000 in fines and costs.

On June 23 the pair entered their not guilty pleas because they didn’t want their dog put down.

Magistrate Gregory Smith was incredulous.

“Are you serious about that – you’re pleading not guilty because you don’t want your dog put down?” he asked.

“And you’re saying that the injured dog was aggressive to your dog? Your dog was on its (the injured dog’s) property – it was defending its own property.

“Are you seriously defending on that basis?”

Defending himself, Ward Glenn Rohan responded: “Yes we are. Yes we believe the dog was aggressive to my dog,” he said.

It was remanded for a trial date before the pair changed their plea to guilty on July 28.

Sentencing was before Magistrate Leanne Atkins on August 4.

Rohan pleaded guilty to failing to register a dog with a local authority and having no control of a dog that attacked or chased a person or animal and caused injury.

Stephanie Joanne McGlew pleaded guilty to failing to register a dog with a local authority and having no control of a dog that attacked or chased a person or animal without causing injury.

Rohan is the owner of Nugget, a brindle-coloured bull terrier and McGlew is the owner of Gypsy, a white bull terrier.

Recounting the events of that day, the City of Rockingham Prosecutor said an elderly Coolungup pensioner was woken around 3am to sounds of distress from his jack russell terrier, Sateen on February 3.

The pensioner went outside to find Sateen in Nugget’s mouth.

Fearing for his dog’s and his own safety he yelled and threw things at Nugget in a bid to get it to let go of Sateen.

Nugget eventually let go and ran away.

He called the rangers and took his dog immediately to a vet.

Later the pensioner was in his backyard collecting his dog’s body parts when Gypsy ran towards in an extremely aggressive state snarling and growling.

Gypsy then charged and chased after the pensioner as he ran back inside his house with Gypsy repeatedly throwing itself against the back door of the man’s home.

The pensioner again called the rangers who returned to find Gypsy still acting in a highly aggressive manner.

The rangers eventually subdued the dog and both dogs were impounded.

The City of Rockingham Prosecutor said there was evidence of damage to the neighbour’s dividing fence.

He said since being impounded both dogs had displayed aggressive behaviour such as snarling and growling while at the pound.

Rohan and McGlew’s lawyer said her clients were remorseful and that McGlew had written a letter five days after the event offering to pay her neighbour’s vet bills and had apologised.

She said the dogs were playful, loving dogs and not on the dangerous breeds list as they were English bull terriers.

Magistrate Atkins said all dogs had their own personalities and could not be defined by breed alone.

The lawyer said the dogs were like the defendants’ children, they loved them and they did not want to see them put down.

Magistrate Atkins replied.

“And I am quite sure the victim loved his dog as well,” she said.

The lawyer agreed but asked for the benefit of the doubt and penalties should be at the lower end of the scale.

Magistrate Atkins ordered the destruction of both dogs. She fined Rohan $1700, and ordered him to pay $2929.36 compensation to the victim along with $3637.24 costs.

She fined McGlew $1200 with $3637.24 in costs.

Sateen survived but its leg could not be saved.