The Law on Responsible Pet Ownership in NSW

Sahar Adatia.

 

In a tragic and heartbreaking incident, a Queensland mother has been unable to survive after she was mauled by three Pitbull Terriers at a home in Maryborough.

Amanda Carmichael, 41, suffered wounds too severe to be treated after she was attacked by the mixed-breed dogs on the morning of Tuesday 8 June 2021.

It is understood Ms Carmichael had gone to the Milton Street house in south Queensland to visit a friend, however, that friend was not home at the time, following which she was suddenly attacked on the street.

Hearing the commotion between the dogs and the woman, neighbours raised the alarm and called the police.

As both police and paramedics arrived at the scene, they were confronted with the shocking image of the woman, critically injured, found lying in the yard with wounds to her head, chest and arm.

Officers and paramedics fought to save her, but she was unable to revive and pronounced dead at the scene.

It is understood people nearby had managed to enclose the dogs into a shed before officers arrived at the property.

The animals were seized by the local council.

Speaking to reporters outside the home in the aftermath of the attack, Maryborough Patrol Group Acting Inspector Wade Lee said the woman’s injuries to her neck, chest and arm were very serious and described the incident as “tragic”.

Inspector Lee also advised there was no suggestion criminality was involved and the attack presented the hallmarks of an “accident”.

He added that Ms Carmichael was well known and liked in the city Maryborough, while Kay Paul, Ms Carmichael’s aunt, told reporters she was a good person despite having faced some troubled years.

“She was always laughing and cracking jokes, she was lovely like that,” Ms Paul said.

Ms Carmichael had recently come to Queensland, where she was living with her grandmother in Toowoomba.

On the day she was attacked, she had simply decided to visit her friend in Maryborough.

 

Pitbull Terriers That Attacked Mother Euthanised

On 9 June, after police were able to confirm they did not require the dogs for evidential purposes, all three of them were euthanised.

All the while, floral tributes were placed outside the home where Ms Carmichael was attacked, with friends saying she would be “dearly missed”.

Fraser Coast Mayor George Seymour said the incident had rocked the region, labelling it as “a horrific event”.

“This is a deeply tragic event, a horrific event for our community,” he said.

“Milton Street is a quiet, residential street … and to hear about what is effectively a pack of dogs killing a person – it’s heartbreaking.”

“Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends.”

Mr Seymour said the council would be looking for “any safety lessons to be learnt”.

“The whole circumstance will need to be thoroughly investigated,” the Mayor said.

“We want to have a safe community where people can go wherever they want.”

It is understood police prepared a report for the coroner, however did not launch a criminal investigation into the matter.

The Law on Responsible Pet Ownership

In NSW, if you are a dog owner, under the Companion Animals Act 1988, you have a responsibility to make sure your dog is under effective control when in a public place, while you are also liable if it attacks a person or even another animal.

This matter is dealt with in section 13 of the Act, which outlines that a dog that is in a public place must be under the effective control of a competent person by means of an adequate chain, cord or leash that is attached to the dog and that is being held by or secured by the person.

Where this is not adhered to, a maximum fine of $11,000 is in place if the dog has been declared a menacing or dangerous or restricted dog.

In the case where the dog has not been declared a menacing or dangerous or restricted dog, the maximum penalty is a fine of $1,100.

Under the Companion Animals Act 1998, authorised officers, including council officers and police officers, have a broad range of powers to be able to properly deal with owners of attacking dogs.

This includes being permitted to enter part of a property that is not used solely for residential purposes and seize a dog.

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