Bite sparks dog bat­tle

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - ZIZI AVER­ILL RHI­AN­NON LUND

A DOG at­tack on a four- year- old boy has left his mother and grand­mother de­mand­ing Mackay Re­gional Coun­cil take ac­tion.

Jax­son Red­da­cliff was bit­ten on the face by his aunt’s labrador at her Mount Pleas­ant home, near Mackay. Po­lice said they were called to the Knight St ad­dress on that day but no fur­ther ac­tion was re­quired.

Jax­son’s mother Rhi­anna Lund and her mother Don­nalee Lund are de­mand­ing Mackay Re­gional Coun­cil put down the dog.

“I want to see the dog de­stroyed, and I’m a dog lover,” Don­nalee said.

Jax­son’s aunt Melinda Red­da­cliff said she was with Jax­son and her fam­ily’s dog Halo in her yard when the in­ci­dent oc­curred.

She said Jax­son was play­ing with the dog, pulling at its ears and try­ing to ride Halo when the dog bit him. Ms Red­da­cliff said her dog had an ear in­fec­tion at the time.

She said this was the first time Halo had ever acted ag­gres­sively.

Jax­son needed stitches near his eye, on his cheek and in his lip.

Rhi­an­non and Don­nalee drove from their homes in Card­well to Mackay to be with Jax­son in hospi­tal after be­ing told of the at­tack.

“It was the long­est drive of my life, be­cause I wanted to be here with him,” Rhi­an­non said.

Ms Red­da­cliff was mean­while fight­ing to keep her dog alive. While she was upset at her dog for bit­ing her nephew, she didn’t want to see Halo put down. She said the dog was loved by her fam­ily.

Mackay Re­gional Coun­cil health and reg­u­la­tory man­ager Craig Shep­herd said after an in- depth in­vesti- gation Halo would not be put down, or even de­clared dan­ger­ous.

“In mak­ing this con­sid­er­a­tion, the his­tory of the dog was con­sid­ered, as was the cir­cum­stances around the in­ci­dent,” he said.

He warned that own­ers should be care­ful around chil­dren, es­pe­cially when pets are sleep­ing, feed­ing, or re­cov­er­ing from ill­ness or in­jury.

“Keep­ing your dog con­fined and un­der ef­fec­tive con­trol will greatly lessen the risks to oth­ers and the com­mu­nity,” Mr Shep­herd said.

It is un­der­stood putting down dogs is gen­er­ally con­sid­ered a last re­sort by the coun­cil. Of­ten dogs will be de­clared as dan­ger­ous and own­ers will be given strict con­di­tions, in­clud­ing muz­zling the dogs in pub­lic places, dis­play­ing signs, reg­is­ter­ing the dog with the coun­cil and mak­ing ef­forts to make sure the dog does not es­cape.

YOUNG VIC­TIM: Jax­son Red­da­cliff, 4, in hospi­tal after be­ing bit­ten by his aunt’s labrador. Pic­ture: ZIZI AVER­ILL

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