The quest to save pet Staffordshire terrier cross Snoop gained momentum yesterday with an outpouring of public support and a specialist dog lawyer agreeing to help the family that owns him.
News readers showed overwhelming support for Snoop’s owners after a story published in yesterday’s edition was posted to News social media channels.
Members of the Kialla family spoke of their fears that their beloved pet would be euthanased after a proposal by Whittlesea City Council to declare him a dangerous dog.
David Moylan and Belinda Phillips bought Snoop from the RSPCA in June last year as a companion dog for their daughter Maggie Phillips, 16, who suffers from depression.
Despite Snoop passing all tests required to be adopted, the family received notice months later — following new information revealed in a court case — that Snoop had previously been involved in an attack that resulted in the death of another dog.
This meant that if Whittlesea City Council followed through with its proposal, it would likely mean Greater Shepparton City Council would have grounds to refuse to permit Snoop’s re-registration. In that event, it would leave the family no option but to return Snoop to the RSPCA or surrender him to Greater Shepparton City Council.
Yesterday, the family was put in contact with Melbourne-based specialist dog lawyer Brett Melke, of Melke Legal, who confirmed to The News he would be assisting the family with the case.
Queanbeyan lawyer Anne Greenaway also called The News to say she has had previous experience fighting cases involving municipal demands to euthanase dogs and also offered to assist.
When contacted on Thursday, Greater Shepparton City Council would not comment on the specific case, but said it considered all applications to register a declared dangerous dog on an individual case basis.
A Whittlesea City Council spokeswoman said the case was ‘‘an unusual and unfortunate situation and we sympathise with the new owners of Snoop’’.
According to Whittlesea City Council, it and the RSPCA did not have any knowledge of the attack during the adoption procedure.
The family was aware of the response to the story.
‘‘We’re so grateful for people’s support during this time,’’ Ms Phillips said.
News readers respond to Snoop's plight:
Jess Montgomery: ‘‘This is so sad, the family seem like they are doing a wonderful job with Snoop and followed all procedures.’’
Kylie Pulic: ‘‘Hopefully Snoop doesn’t have to get put down.’’
Liz Madden: ‘‘The dog has been assessed as safe by the RSPCA surely restrictions such as muzzle in public, secured high fences etc. can be put in place instead of putting down the staffie. Yes, the public has a right to be safe from a ‘dangerous dog’, but the family also has a right to keep their RSPCA approved pet. Put in restrictions, don’t kill the well-loved dog.’’
Alycia Bourne: ‘‘Given how well Snoop is now displaying, you have to wonder what led him to attack in the first place. Sometimes all it takes is some extra love to mend a dog’s broken spirit. I hope this poor baby doesn’t have to be taken from his new family.’’
Liana Bitcon: ‘‘Shepparton council need to stand by our Shepparton family. Don’t give up Snoop, take it further, there must be other options. Wishing the family the very best and hoping for a happy outcome.’’
Jodie Londrigan: ‘‘In my shire a dangerous dog isn’t automatically put down as long as their yard is secure and they need to be walked in the red jacket of shame.’’
Lisa Hayes: ‘‘Anyone know if there is a petition as I would love to support this family! Snoop is technically a therapy dog now and if past all the testing then they need to leave him alone. Offer to have him have a mussel (sic) while being walked ... there are so many better solutions! My thoughts are with this family!’’