PUT DOWN: One of the dogs that mauled a pony at a Doolong Road property is taken by a council compliance officer.
PUT DOWN: One of the dogs that mauled a pony at a Doolong Road property is taken by a council compliance officer. Alistair Brightman

Escaped dogs kill pony and maul horse

A HEARTBROKEN Nikenbah family has called on the council to offer weekend animal compliance services after their 11-year-old pony, Pudding, was killed by wandering dogs.

But Fraser Coast Mayor Gerard O'Connell said offering such a service would not be economically viable and in the end it was up to dog owners to practice responsible animal ownership.

Alison Huston's son Christopher, 27, found the pony's savaged body on their property yesterday morning.

The family's elderly mare Bonnie, aged in her 30s, also suffered bites to her face in the incident.

Ms Huston said the owners of the dogs were out on Saturday night and when they got home they found their dogs had dug their way out of their enclosure.

The owners of the dogs believed that fireworks on Saturday night might have disturbed them.

The family immediately contacted the council but were told they would have to wait until Monday to make a report.

The dogs' owners then took to social media in an effort to find their pets as quickly as they could.

But some time during the night the dogs made their way on to the Huston's property and attacked their pony and horse.

Yesterday council compliance officers attended the scene and impounded both dogs.

Ms Huston said the other family surrendered the two dogs to council compliance officers who attended the scene and the animals will now be euthanised.

Ms Huston said the dog owners were every bit as heartbroken as her family, and they had agreed to pay for the pony's burial and the veterinary costs of caring for their older horse.

"I've done a lot of crying," she said.

"It is very, very bad."

Ms Huston said if there was a service available to assist in finding wandering dogs on the weekend, the tragedy may have been averted.

Cr O'Connell said that compliance officers were made available in serious cases where a dangerous dog was on the loose.

But it appears the dogs had no dangerous history, with Ms Huston saying the owners could not understand the actions of their animals - they had been around livestock and children and had never shown any signs of aggression.

Cr O'Connell said the incident would be looked into by the council and he would consider whether a financially viable solution that would allow for an after hours service would be feasible.

But he stressed that it was not the responsibility of the council to provide a 24-hour pick-up service for those who failed to properly confine their animals.

"It's not the realm of council or ratepayers to collect people's dogs," he said.

Cr O'Connell said the council had spent a lot of time and money promoting responsible pet ownership throughout the region.


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