Man forced to pay $15K or euthanise beloved dogs
A CLERMONT man says he has no choice but to euthanise his beloved pure-bred Staffordshire dogs after a court ruled they were dangerous.
Thomas Herbohn, 32, of Clermont, treats Diesel and Pepper like his children but the long-running costs associated with dangerous dog fees, renovating his backyard, and the threat of further fines has made it unfeasible to keep them.
Mr Herbohn said the dogs still have about 10 years of life in them, meaning he would be facing a total of $15,000 worth of dangerous dog registration fees altogether.
"I can't even move, I have to stay here, if I move to another place I have to apply to bring my dogs with me," he said.
The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal last month confirmed American Staffordshire dogs Diesel and Pepper were dangerous dogs as ruled by the Isaac Regional Council.
It comes after an incident on April 2 last year, when "Spud" the kelpie owned by Mr Herbohn's next door neighbour Shannon Breckon wandered into his yard through an unlatched gate, sparking a dog fight.
Mr Herbohn told the court he immediately leapt over the backyard gate and used it to separate the dogs as he pulled them apart.
Vet surgeons treated Spud for what they found to be "massive muscle injuries" and was put on an IV drip.
Tribunal member Phillipa Beckinsale ruled that the attack on Spud by Diesel and Pepper resulted in grievous bodily harm.
During the hearing Mr Herbohn provided multiple statements from family and friends to prove he was a responsible dog owner.
People who gave evidence at the hearing agreed Mr Herbohn was a responsible dog owner, and that Diesel and Pepper were not aggressive to children but did not like other dogs.
Tribunal member Beckinsale said in her decision that euthanasia should be a last resort.
"It will be sad for Mr Herbohn should he decide to have his dogs, which he clearly loves, euthanised as a result of the declaration I propose to make but that is not a matter proper for me to consider," she said.
"Diesel and Pepper as that measure should be a "last resort" and containment as is required by the legislation is likely to ensure incident where other dogs are injured by them does not reoccur."
Mr Herbohn said Clermont was renowned for dogs going walkabout from backyards.
"The scariest thing is, just say another dog jumps into the backyard to have a play with Diesel and Pepper, I'm up for a more than $6000 fine per dog, if an incident occurs," he said.
"It's just not worth the risk, I'd be looking at over $15,000 if no incidents occur where another dog got in."
Mr Herbohn said he has overcome the initial anger but thinking about putting the dogs down brings a tear to his eye.
"I've had ex-girlfriends tell me in the past that I love the dogs more than them," he said.
"No more coming home from work and they doing something silly to make you smile after a long day, no more walking them. All I can do is take photos and hope that counts."
IRC mayor Anne Baker said pet owners are legally liable for the actions of their animals.
"We acknowledge that responsible dog owners don't intend for their pet to show aggression towards other animals or people, but it can and does happen," she said.
"When an incident is reported, Council will investigate the matter and take enforcement action where appropriate.
"Council has an important role to play in protecting the community from the danger of dog attacks and in such situations public safety is our top priority."