Owner fined but dan­ger­ous dogs spared death row af­ter killing cat

Campaspe News - - NEWS - By VIVI­ENNE DUCK

A MAG­IS­TRATE has re­fused to de­stroy two dan­ger­ous dogs who ‘‘played tug-of-war’’ with a pet cat in Rochester who later died.

But she has or­dered their owner, Rochester’s An­gela Mur­ray, to pay $2,300 im­pound costs to the Cam­paspe Shire, who have housed the dogs for 84 days.

The Staffy Bull Ter­rier cross and Rot­tweiler cross have been saved in hope they will be able to be re-homed af­ter the case was heard ex parte in Echuca Mag­is­trates’ Court on Wed­nes­day.

Cam­paspe Shire lo­cal laws co­or­di­na­tor Ni­cholas Curnow told the court the cat’s owner heard her dogs bark­ing er­rat­i­cally on Fe­bru­ary 28.

‘‘She was in the house and heard dogs bark­ing and didn’t think any­thing of it un­til they started bark­ing louder,’’ he said.

‘‘She went out the side door in fear there was some­one in the house to see two dogs on her drive­way bit­ing her cats around the face.

‘‘She started yelling to get the dogs away be­fore they started play­ing tu­gof-war with the cat.’’

The dogs then dropped the cat and ran to­wards their yard fur­ther down the street.

‘‘The cat was cov­ered in blood and was just breath­ing,’’ Mr Curnow said.

‘‘She put her cat in the car to take her to the Rochester vets and saw both dogs be­ing called by their owner into their ad­dress.

‘‘The cat passed away be­fore she reached the vets.’’

The court heard the cat’s owner re­mem­bered see­ing the same Rot­tweiler stand­ing in her drive­way the day be­fore.

‘‘On Fe­bru­ary 27 at 7.45am, a wit­ness also saw the dogs chas­ing a horse in a pad­dock,’’ Mr Curnow said.

On this day Mur­ray was asked by the lo­cal ranger to se­cure the dogs to which her re­sponse was she was wait­ing for DHS to fix some fence pal­ings.

‘‘On Fe­bru­ary 28 at 2.15pm, the rangers seized both dogs,’’ Mr Curnow said.

The court heard the coun­cil staff tried on sev­eral oc­ca­sions to get in con­tact with Mur­ray and set up an in­ter­view about the in­ci­dent but were un­suc­cess­ful.

The to­tal cost to the coun­cil for hous­ing the two dogs for the 84 days was $5,683.30.

But mag­is­trate Me­gan Au­mair said due to Mur­ray’s ob­vi­ous fi­nan­cial dif­fi­cul­ties she would not or­der her to pay the whole amount.

Ms Au­mair de­clared the dogs dan­ger­ous, fined Mur­ray $1,000 and or­dered her to pay the $2,300 im­pound costs and $122.30 court costs.

Mur­ray was not in at­ten­dance at court.

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