A Kialla family has been overwhelmed by the media attention and public support received after it emerged their daughter’s companion animal faced the prospect of being destroyed.
The fate of the eight-year-old Staffy-cross, Snoop, is now in the hands of Whittlesea City Council.
The organisation has proposed to have Snoop declared a dangerous dog and owners David Moylan, Belinda Phillips and daughter Maggie Phillips have a little over a week to make a submission on the decision.
The family has been buoyed by the intervention of a Melbourne based lawyer specialising in similar cases, having already spent $500 on local legal advice.
Whittlesea Council’s partnerships, planning and engagement director Liana Thompson said the clock was ticking on a decision to decide Snoop’s fate.
‘‘We need to receive (Ms Phillips’) submission by March 1, following which our dog control panel will consider all the information available, including any submissions, and will decide whether the dog will be declared dangerous,’’ she said.
‘‘We expect to have a decision by mid-March.’’
Documents shown to The News state that if Snoop is declared dangerous, Greater Shepparton City Council will refuse the dog registration and legally he must be surrendered and then euthanased.
The circumstances surrounding how a so-called dangerous dog was surrendered to the RSPCA, and then rehomed last year are still up in the air, with Whittlesea Council failing to respond by deadline yesterday to a request to explain what exactly occurred.
Previously, Whittlesea Council stated they only became aware of an attack Snoop allegedly made on another dog, reportedly a four-month-old Maltese terrier cross that died as a result of its injuries, as the result of a court case.
That case was heard on October 22, when Snoop’s previous owner pleaded guilty to three charges, one of a dog attacking an animal causing death, one of a dog at large between sunrise and sunset, and another of failing to apply to register a dog.
The owner was fined $2000 for the offences. The applicant in that case was Whittlesea City Council.
Six months before the case was heard, Snoop was surrendered to Whittlesea City Council and then passed on to the RSPCA.
‘‘RSPCA Victoria received Snoop on April 20, 2018, and he proceeded through our standard pre-adoption checks which included a health and behaviour assessment,’’ an RSPCA spokesperson said.
‘‘Snoop did not display any signs of aggression while in our care and we did not have prior knowledge of Snoop’s history.’’
The family now faces an anxious wait as the legal process runs its course, but they thanked members of the public who have offered their support online and face-to-face.
‘‘I’ve been stopped in the supermarket several times, ‘Are you Snoop’s mum?’ people ask,’’ Ms Phillips said.
Mr Moylan said he had been approached many times at his place of employment, Goulburn Valley Health.
‘‘People come up to me and say good luck with what’s going on,’’ he said.
But despite all the goodwill, the family are still concerned for both Snoop and daughter Maggie who is reportedly struggling with the uncertainty.
‘‘She seems to be fine today. She’s had her ups and downs and she’s a bit overwhelmed by talking about the whole issue ... She doesn’t know if she’ll be able to have her dog at the end of the year,’’ Mr Moylan said.
A statement from City of Whittlesea safety manager Debbie Blandford was received after deadline. The News has included it below in full.
“The attack occurred on 11 April 2018 however was not reported to council until the 12 April 2018 by which time the dog had been relocated by the owner.
“There were countless attempts to contact Snoop’s owner at the time of the attack to participate in the investigation and to locate the dog.
“These attempts to contact the owner were unsuccessful so Council was unable to identify and locate the dog.
“A dog was surrendered to the RSPCA on 20 April 2018. As Council had not located Snoop after the attack or received any information from the previous owner, we were not aware this was the dog that we’d been looking for.
“Based on information provided by witness reports and veterinary reports court proceedings against the previous owner began on the 24 May 2018.
“However, the matter was adjourned three times at the requests of the previous owner’s solicitor and therefor the matter wasn’t heard until 22 October 2018.
“The dog was identified after information was provided by the previous owner at the Magistrates Court which lead to Snoop.
“Council could only issue an intent to declare the dog as dangerous once the charges had been proven in the Magistrates Court and the location of the dog had been identified.”