How one dog cost council almost $70k
A drawn out legal saga ending in the euthanasia of a declared dangerous dog has cost Sunshine Coast Council almost $67,000.
The 18-month campaign to save 10-year-old Staffy cross Sarge involved a court review and several appeals.
Noosa Shire Council declared Sarge dangerous after he attacked and killed another dog in July 2016.
Sarge also attacked two other dogs in separate incidents in March 2018 and March 2019, according to council.
Council officers, who remained anonymous for safety reasons during Thursday's ordinary meeting, explained the "concerning" bill for the impoundment, legal and vet fees.
"I think the community will be very concerned with the cost in this matter," councillor Peter Cox said.
"A fortnight ago it was distressing for most of us, who were receiving threatening emails and messages, so I can only imagine how difficult this has been for the staff involved."
Owner Kara Chaplin raised almost $20,000 from online donations from around the world during her campaign to save Sarge.
On November 27, the day after Sarge was killed, she wrote on the GoFundMe page, "there are no words to explain the hurt and frustration that goes with this".
Mayor Mark Jamieson requested the report to provide an overview of council's responsibilities for dangerous dog management, following Sarge's death.
A breakdown of the costs showed legal fees totalled $18,000 and impoundment $26,548.
In response to Cr Cox's question on how to prevent the financial burden being passed on to the ratepayer, the officer said it was paid for in part by dog registration fees.
"It would have come out of dog registration, then if there's nothing leftover it will come from the general ratepayer," she said.
She said there were significant delays when such matters were referred to Queensland Civil Administration Tribunal.
The report said in April 2019 council took the matter to the Magistrate's Court where the owner was fined $3829.40.
It said on April 16, 2019 council issued to a notice to the owner advising of its intention to euthanise Sarge.
Cr Jamieson said the owner was given every avenue for review and appeal.
The original decision was subject to internal review, and then upheld by Queensland Civil Administrative Tribunal.
Appeal Tribunal upheld the tribunal decision.
The owner took the matter to Queensland Court of Appeal, where the appeal was refused on November 20.
Sarge was euthanised on November 26, 2020.
The report said "his passing was respectful, peaceful and calm".
"The decision to euthanise a dog is a serious one, and not taken lightly by any council officer," it said.