Vi­cious dog fi­nally put down

Joondalup Weekender - - Front Page - Mark Don­ald­son

THE City of Wan­neroo has ex­plained how reg­u­la­tions pre­vented of­fi­cers from seiz­ing an ag­gres­sive dog that at­tacked two peo­ple in Wan­gara last year.

One of the vic­tims suf­fered per­ma­nent in­juries af­ter the kelpie cross bull arab mauled her arm.

Hav­ing not been seized, the dog then at­tacked a 16-year-old boy in Craigie about two months af­ter the ini­tial in­ci­dent.

The an­i­mal was put down af­ter be­ing seized by the City of Joon­dalup.

The pet’s owner, An­to­nio Cicchino, was fined thou­sands of dol­lars in court over the Wan­gara in­ci­dent ear­lier this month, but avoided court over the third at­tack in Craigie be­cause he agreed to sur­ren­der the dog to be put down.

Mag­is­trate Ed­ward de Vries ques­tioned why the an­i­mal was not seized af­ter the first in­ci­dent, which could have pre­vented the third at­tack.

Wan­neroo act­ing di­rec­tor of community and place Shane Spinks said it was reg­is­tered to a sub­urb out­side the City’s ju­ris­dic­tion, pre­vent­ing Wan­neroo rangers from seiz­ing it.

“The City was not made aware of the at­tacks un­til a day af­ter the in­ci­dent, by which time the dog had been re­moved out of the City of Wan­neroo’s ju­ris­dic­tion,” he said.

“As The Dog Act only al­lows au­tho­rised of­fi­cers to take action within the ju­ris­dic­tion they are em­ployed, the only course of action avail­able to City of Wan­neroo rangers was to pros­e­cute the owner, which they did.”

City of Joon­dalup chief ex­ec­u­tive Garry Hunt con­firmed rangers had re­sponded to a third at­tack in Craigie in April last year.

He ex­plained why the City did not press for court-or­dered penal­ties for the owner.

“The City in­ves­ti­gated the at­tack and the owner of the dog, a Craigie res­i­dent, vol­un­tar­ily sur­ren­dered the an­i­mal to the City,” Mr Hunt said. “It was later eu­thanased. “The City had been made aware that the dog owner was in the process of court pro­ceed­ings with the City of Wan­neroo in re­la­tion to a pre­vi­ous dog at­tack.

“Given the dog was eu­thanased, the City felt no fur­ther penalty was ap­pro­pri­ate.

“The com­plainant (the par­ents of the boy) were sat­is­fied with this out­come.”

AN as­ton­ished mag­is­trate has told a man he was in “to­tal de­nial” about the friend­li­ness of his for­mer dog af­ter it bru­tally at­tacked a man and a woman in Wan­gara last year.

The woman spent two nights in hospi­tal and re­quired surgery to mend se­vere wounds on her arm, which was left per­ma­nently dam­aged.

The dog was even­tu­ally put down af­ter it at­tacked a 16-year-old boy in an in­ci­dent in Craigie un­re­lated to this case.

An­to­nio Cicchino was due to face trial in Joon­dalup Mag­is­trates Court on May 21, hav­ing pleaded not guilty to two charges of a dog at­tack caus­ing phys­i­cal in­jury and one charge of not be­ing in con­trol of a dog in a pub­lic place.

The trial did not go ahead af­ter he changed his plea to guilty.

He faced hefty court costs of more than $10,500, much of which stemmed from the ex­pense of the prose­cu­tion’s prepa­ra­tion for the trial.

Mag­is­trate Ed­ward de Vries said he was “not con­vinced” Cicchino was “gen­uinely re­morse­ful” and fined him $6000 over the at­tacks, tak­ing his to­tal penalty to nearly $17,000.

Both vic­tims were in court for the hear­ing.

The court heard Cicchino’s 14month-old kelpie cross bull arab at­tacked a tow-truck driver who was in the yard of Cicchino’s busi­ness to re­move a car about 2pm on Fe­bru­ary 21 last year.

City of Wan­neroo pros­e­cu­tor Sam De Vita said the dog had been locked away but es­caped and “latched on” to the man’s right hand. He said Cicchino had made “no men­tion” to the driver about the dog be­ing on site.

Cicchino’s lawyer ex­plained the pet was kept at home most of the time but oc­ca­sion­ally ac­com­pa­nied him at work.

The vic­tim had to scale a pile of tyres to safety.

The dog then ran out of the prop­erty and mauled a woman who was walk­ing past the yard.

Mr De Vita said the an­i­mal “ran straight for her and jumped on her to­wards her face”.

The dog “shook her arm vi­o­lently” as she shielded her­self from the at­tack, which re­sulted in nerve, ten­don and mus­cle dam­age.

She now suf­fers nerve pain and numb­ness in the arm.

Cicchino’s lawyer said his client, who helped with first aid af­ter the at­tack, had “ex­pressed not only his re­morse, but his hor­ror” at the out­come.

“He wishes noth­ing more that he can go back in time and stop the in­ci­dents from oc­cur­ring,” he said.

Mr de Vries handed Cicchino pic­tures of the vic­tims’ in­juries.

He ques­tioned him about the dog’s na­ture, and said the an­i­mal “must have shown” signs of ag­gres­sion.

Cicchino said the an­i­mal had been “just a nor­mal, play­ful dog”.

Mr de Vries told him “you’re in to­tal de­nial”.

“The in­juries are hor­ri­fy­ing,” he said.

“He bru­tally at­tacked two peo­ple... this wasn’t a play­ful dog play­ing with these two peo­ple.”

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