Still in the shih tzu: City of Kalamunda dismisses High Wycombe woman’s pleas to have fine for escaped dogs waived

Pound of flesh... Janet Hastings says the City of Kalamunda is being cruel in its insistence that she pay the fine.
Pound of flesh... Janet Hastings says the City of Kalamunda is being cruel in its insistence that she pay the fine.

A HIGH Wycombe dog owner has been left holding the bill after City of Kalamunda rangers dismissed her pleas to waive a fine after her two shih tzus escaped from her property.

Janet Hastings said she was shocked when rangers called her on January 25 to say her dogs had escaped.

“I was shell-shocked; surely these could not be my dogs Bella and Mac, they are behind a six-foot fence with a double-bolted gate,” she said.

“I was secure in the knowledge that my two dogs couldn’t possibly get out without me. I drove home and saw that a bolt had been dragged from its bedding and the gate was ajar.”

Ms Hastings said the only logical explanation was that someone had tried to break into her property.

“I went to the local police station to report the incident but was told because there is no CCTV on the property and no one had seen anything, there isn’t a lot they can do,” she said.

“I then visited Forrestfield MLA Stephen Price; his office suggested I take photos of the gate to show that there is no way the dogs could have got out on their own.

“This done, I made my way back up to the City office but the ranger told me there was nothing he could do and my dogs could not be released from the pound unless I paid a $184 fee.

“Surely rangers can exercise discretion and see that this is not your everyday situation.”

City chief executive Rhonda Hardy said the rangers assisted Ms Hastings as much as they could. She said Ms Hastings was told if she provided a copy of the police report number, the impound fee would be waived.

Ms Hardy also said rangers made arrangements for the impound fees so that Ms Hastings could take her dogs home before the weekend.

“Generally impound fees are required to be paid before the animals can be released,” she said.

“The only fee that was required to be paid on the day was the $20 registration fee for the unregistered dog.”

However, Ms Hastings said she could not afford to pay the fine.

“I volunteer for Sea Rescue 48 hours a month, which I don’t get paid for, but I am still going out there in rough dangerous seas to help save lives,” she said.

“I have dealt with shark attacks, heart attacks and hypothermia but I have never dealt with a City that is so cold to the point of being cruel.”

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