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Byron Shire
March 6, 2021

Mutts must be muzzled

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I just witnessed a heavily pregnant woman being jumped up at by a snarling Staffy as she tried to protect her small dog by holding it up!

As a small-dog owner, I would like to bring to your attention the drama of exercising my beloved pet in Byron.

Like most dog owners I find the dog parks / beaches a wonderful attraction to exercise my fluffy friend, running, jumping, ears flapping in the wind; what joy it brings us to see them so happy and off the lead. Truly a wonderful natural happy high to any dog owner’s day, much the same as a parent watching their child playing.

But the joyful moment is clouded by a shredding fear that at any moment a larger dog will charge across the beach and bash your little ball of fluff to the ground, possibly injuring or instigating a attack with its sharp teeth.

‘This sounds a little exaggerated,’ I hear you say. Yes, just like when you said ‘they’re just playing’ as my beloved is bashed and bitten.

Let’s put it in to perspective: would you allow a grown man to kick and bite a child?

Many of the dogs I cross the road to avoid are Staffies. Let’s be honest a head of full muscle, locking jaw. ‘Ah it just wants to play, it’s full of energy.’

Between July and September 2011 there were 1,624 reported dog attacks in Australia; that’s 4.5 a day, and at the top of the list is the Staffordshire bull terrier.

Six hundred and ninety-four of the attacks resulted in death! Google it, and be shocked,

I believe all dogs can bring joy to someone. I don’t hate Staffies or the other larger stronger breeds that so often bully smaller dogs, but doing nothing does not help the situation.

Staffordshire bull terriers, Australian cattle dogs, Rottweilers and Kelpies should wear a muzzle and be on a lead when in public, and keep the muzzle on when running free in a dog-exercise area, by law! It’s law in other countries and it is working.

Why is this not Australian law?

Muzzles do not harm the dogs and they are inexpensive!

Also in some areas, eg Brisbane, exercise areas for large and small dogs are separate.

I propose that on Tallow Beach dog exercise area, the current dog beach be for large dogs and to the south be for small breeds. Small breeds do not even require a large area, as their legs are much shorter!

The Byron Shire Council loves to protect the wildlife – when will they do something to protect man’s best friend?

I couldn’t Google how many children are attacked each year; the horrific thought would be too depressing.

Martin Wilson
Suffolk Park


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