North Dandalup dog attack sees call for more preventative measures

Since a dog attack left a husky and lamb with extensive injuries there have been calls for more preventative measures to protect the welfare of pets and livestock.

On July 30, Chloe Thurkle was awoken by a phone call telling her that her two dogs, Zeus and Ragnar had escaped.

As she walked out the front of her North Dandalup home, a ranger was already there to offer a lift. They drove to a property where Ragnar was, and it was there Ms Thurkle was told that Zeus needed urgent vet care.

"In my mind I thought he had been shot because that is what happens out here," she said.

"If they are going to chase cattle, or sheep then we completely understood that."

Zeus latched onto a lamb and jumped up at a chicken enclosure before being pinned down with a pitchfork. Photo: Supplied.

Zeus latched onto a lamb and jumped up at a chicken enclosure before being pinned down with a pitchfork. Photo: Supplied.

But when Ms Thurkle arrived at the property where Zeus was found, the scene was different to what she had imagined.

"Zeus was locked in a concrete floor dog cage with his head lying on a brick and there was another brick next to him," she said.

"He was breathing horrifically, he was wheezing and there was blood all over his face."

The Mandurah Magistrates Court heard how the incident unfolded as Ms Thurkle's partner was fined for not containing Zeus and Ragnar.

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Shire of Murray lawyer Ron Porter told the court the farmer witnessed two dogs chasing his sheep.

"He witnessed Zeus run through the flock and grab a one-week-old lamb in his mouth around the chest," Mr Porter said.

"Zeus dropped the lamb after carrying it about five metres and then started running towards the other sheep in the flock."

After the farmer secured the sheep in a paddock he then "saw the dogs running around and barking at the chickens inside the enclosure and Zeus was also jumping on the wire of the pen".

The court heard the farmer "grabbed a pitchfork and pinned Zeus to the ground around the head".

Mr Porter said the farmer then "grabbed Zeus by the chained collar and dragged him to a nearby cage and hit Zeus with a brick several times to subdue him so he could exit the cage".

The lamb was later found with a wound under its stomach and it was unable to stand.

With a long list of injuries, Ms Thurkle and her partner made the decision to euthanise Zeus. Photo: Supplied.

With a long list of injuries, Ms Thurkle and her partner made the decision to euthanise Zeus. Photo: Supplied.

Both animals died as a result of the attack.

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According to a RSPCA WA spokesperson, farmers have the right to legally destroy any dog on their property.

"There are a number of permissible defences prescribed under the Animal Welfare Act 2002," the spokesperson said.

"One of the prescribed defences is self-defence or protecting themselves, another person or an animal from being attacked, or the threat of attack, from another animal."

A Department of Regional Industries and Primary Development spokesperson also said the incident was a reminder to take action to prevent pet and livestock deaths.

"This case is a good reminder that the welfare of both pets and livestock is paramount and action should be taken to prevent such occurrences," the spokesperson said.

Since the death of Zeus, Ms Thurkle has been urging pet owners who live in rural areas to make sure their dogs can't escape. Photo: Supplied.

Since the death of Zeus, Ms Thurkle has been urging pet owners who live in rural areas to make sure their dogs can't escape. Photo: Supplied.

Ms Thurkle has started a petition to change the law to limit the way farmers can kill trespassing dogs.

The petition already has close to 3400 signatures in support.

Ms Thurkle said while she understood the farmer had every right to act as he had done in killing Zeus, she hoped the petition could prevent future dog attacks and minimise the suffering of all animals involved when they do occur.