Council refuses dog application

IMPASSIONED tales of neighbours scared to leave their homes because of killer dogs has caused council to refuse a Pratten Street resident the right to keep four German Shepherds on the premises.

Accounts of a six-month-old border collie puppy being mauled and killed by the owner’s dogs, andsomeone moving house for fear of attack were just some of the nearby residents’ reasons for objecting to the material change of use for intensive animal use.

Under local laws, no more than two dogs can be kept in a residential area without a change of use, applied for through the Southern Downs Regional council.

The applicant applied to council as he wished to keep four dogs on his property, stressing there was no intent of operating a commercial kennel.

At present the dogs are kept in the backyard with an electric fence, and the applicant offered to upgrade this fence to a 1.8-metre-high weldmesh plastic-coated fence.

The owner, who has lived at the house since April, at present has two dogs on the property but has already been issued with two notices from council over dogs barking.

On August 8, a report was received that three dogs killed a border collie pup that strayed into the backyard. The applicant also told council the dogs killed a neighbour’s cat and injured another neighbour’s dog.

Council couldn’t take any action on the attacks because they happened in the dogs’ own yard.

Objectors said they were unable to do everyday tasks, such as hang out their washing, without barking and snarling as the dogs charged at the fence.

Some said they feared that if the power ever went off on the electric fence they would be at risk of attack, and that if children unwittingly put an arm through the fence they would also be in danger.

All day and night barking is also a common complaint.

At this week’s committee meeting, planning director Ken Harris said it wasn’t often that an application came before him that made him “uncomfortable".

“I have some real concerns about this use in a residential area,” he told councillors.

He said some of the concerns were “emotive”, but there had been a lot of issues in a short period.

Councillors did ask about the possibility of alternative solutions but all agreed in the end that the application would have to be rejected as it would jeopardise the safe and comfortable environment.

A final decision will be made at next week’s general meeting of the council.

The owner of the dogs was unable to be contacted for comment.

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