Rockingham: Bull arab dog won’t be destroyed after attack on girl

Photo: Kidspot.com.au
Photo: Kidspot.com.au

A BULL ARAB dog that attacked a 12-year-old girl will not be put down after its owners were sentenced for the attack at Rockingham Magistrates court today.

Michael John Daniel Smith and Melissa Fay Coombes pleaded guilty in their absence to two charges each of dog not held or tethered in certain public places and person liable for dog attack on a person or animal.

The City of Kwinana Prosecutor handed up photos of the victim’s injuries.

She said the male dog had escaped from its yard and approached three girls walking along a footpath on October 2.

One of the girls was attacked and received puncture wounds to her arms, legs and buttocks requiring her to spend three days at Fiona Stanley Hospital.

In letters to the court the owners, Smith and Coombes, expressed remorse.

Smith said he had been flea bombing the house and the dog managed to get past him and down the side of the house.

He immediately chased after the dog who he described as “friendly” and “not at all aggressive”.

When the dog approached the three girls, the victim fell over and, fearing they would be attacked, the other two girls punched and kicked at the dog.

The owner thought that may have been the reason that it attacked.

The man caught up with the dog and managed to pull it away from the girls and back into his house.

City of Kwinana rangers removed the dog from its owners while the matter was investigated.

The prosecutor said it had since been declared a dangerous dog and the owners had made upgrades so it could not escape again.

She said they had been very compliant throughout and followed all conditions for ownership of a declared dangerous breed.

She said the owners had regularly asked after the girls and were both very sorry over the attack.

She asked for a penalty that reflected general deterrence.

“General deterrence comes to play as it is increasingly common to see people take strong dogs onto their property for security,” she said.

The pair sought spent convictions which were refused by Magistrate Leanne Atkins.

“I am satisfied it is not likely to happen again due to the (upgraded) fencing,” she said

“But due to general deterrence and in the public interest in matters such as this no spent convictions will be granted.”

They were each fined $3000 with costs of $1052.