A dog owner is asking his local council to show some flexibility in the way nuisance dogs are dealt with, after clocking up nearly $4,000 in fines.
Justin Brow, of Bellingen in New South Wales, has spent years trying to dog-proof his backyard, but his unusually resourceful kelpie Honey keeps finding new ways to escape.
“She’s the canine equivalent of Houdini. And my yard is like Fort Knox,” he said.
Mr Brow has attached extra wire barriers to his regular timber fence, reinforced parts of it with corrugated iron, and poured cement along the fence-line to prevent Honey digging holes underneath.
He said no matter what, the dog always managed to get out and roam free.
“There’s a feeling I get sometimes, that she turns into smoke and re-forms on the other side of the fence,” he said.
“I’ve had dogs since I was four years old, but this dog is different.
“She’ll sit and look, and you can see that she’s reasoning, trying to find a weak spot.
“There are times when she’s been contained in the enclosed verandah and she’s dug up the floorboards.”
Mr Brow said Honey’s escapes had not gone unnoticed by local authorities, and he was now on a payment plan to help him deal with dozens of fines issued by the local ranger.
“It’s become this ongoing war between me trying to contain the dog and the local ranger,” he said.
More flexible system needed
Mr Brow said the way the system was set up meant he was always fined before he had a chance to get Honey off the street.
“[The ranger] doesn’t do anything about getting her off the streets. He just takes a photo from his car and I get a printout attached to a fine,” he said.
“I understand he’s got his responsibility, but this is simply revenue-raising.
“He could quite easily give me a buzz and I’d happily come and get her. That would be entirely reasonable.