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Byron Shire
April 20, 2021

Dog owner charged after savage attack at Byron shire cafe

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The owner of a dog that attacked a Byron shire café worker and bit off part of her nose is facing a fine of up to $77,000 and five years in jail.

Byron Shire Council rangers charged the owner of the mastiff dog after the 30-year-old woman was attacked at the Roadhouse Café between Byron Bay and Suffolk Park.

The young woman, who worked at the café, is recovering in a Gold Coast hospital after undergoing reconstructive surgery following the attack.

Tweed/Byron local area command inspector Chad Deegan said the attack happened about 1.40pm on 24 July.

‘A 30-year-old lady was bitten by a dog, a mastiff, and received a serious injury to her nose,’ Inspector Deegan said.

‘Police attended and council rangers were notified, and the dog was destroyed at the owner’s request.

Insp Deegan said council rangers were investigating the matter.

A Byron Shire Council spokesman said the dog owner had been issued with a court attendance notice to appear in court on 20 August.

Byron Shire Council’s legal services coordinator, Ralph James, confirmed that there had been a dog attack against a person last Friday in Byron Bay.

‘The attack was serious, the person had significant injuries, and was reported to council rangers by police.”

‘Rangers investigated that matter and early this week, council commenced local court proceedings.

‘The dog had previously been declared menacing and as a result of the owner’s failure to comply with one or more of the menacing dog control requirements, which facilitated the attack, legal proceedings have commenced.’

The offence carries a maximum penalty $77,000 or imprisonment for five years. There is a jurisdictional maximum penalty of $22,000 or imprisonment for two years.

Conviction for the offence results in permanent disqualification from owning a dog or from being in charge of a dog in a public place.

‘The dog has since been euthanised,’ Mr James said.

Mr James reported that dangerous/menacing dogs and dog attacks are a priority for Council.

He urged all dog owners to ensure that dogs do not roam, are housed in a secure yard and are under the control of a responsible adult when out in public.

‘Fines apply if pet owners are found to not be complying,’ he said.


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35 COMMENTS

  1. I’m betting that any fines will be in the lower end of the scale in this case. Owning dogs of this type should require a special licence and the owners be required to have dog attack insurance..

  2. I have no doubt we are going to see the death of a child soon from this issue.
    I am disgusted by the number of thug dogs in the shire and surrounds now.
    Staffies and anything bigger are totally unnecessary as pets and should be banned.
    Controls that preclude any dog deemed capable of grievance harm to humans could be put in place with mandatory vet inspections and registration with an annual fee.
    I am a dog owner and would be happy to comply with this.

    • Roger, I walk on the beach most days with my dog & there are a good amount of staffies who are super friendly and completely harmless. My dog is not a staffy however he is a large dog and it’s the little white fluffies who are the trouble makers!

      • I fully agree the little fluffy ones are just a much of a problem and often it is the humans behaviour and ignorance that cause the bad dog behaviour. Alot worse tings happens to humans each day by other humans and they are not put down

  3. Fully support Byron Council’s action.

    The liklehood of this degree of severity of attack is greatly increased when mastiff type breeds are permitted.

    Unfortunately we need to impose more controls over dog breeds and their owners to guard against these terrible injuries.

    Personally i will be lobbying relevant ministers to introduce amendments to the Companion Animal legislation to introduce new breeds as restricted such as mastiffs, american staffies and pig dog type hunting breeds.

    We need to prohibit backyard breeding of “hunting” type dogs and enforce desexing of dogs not owned by genuiine breeders of community compatible breeds. Society does not want dogs that need to be kept in cages when not “working”.

    A dog that is capable of biting a child’s face half off and also of an inclination to do so if “provoked” is not
    welcome in a civilised society.

    How many more children need to die and people disfigured by “family pets” before politicians get the message?

  4. Staffies and Mastiffs tend to be unpredictable….. I wouldnt have one….give me a sensible dog like a shepherd any day.
    Largely dogs are like kids so if you failed miserably bringing up your kids dont have a dog.

    • Lyn,

      Couldn’t agree more.

      I have over 10 years experience in Local Government law enforcement and my opinion is that attacking dogs generally are owned by people who are socially dysfunctional. Particularly dismissive of the rights and safety of others in our society.

      Not sure on your assessment of Shepherds as they tend to be loyal to one owner and territorial with the bite size to do significant damage to children. Their size and nature makes them a risk in the wrong hands.

      A broad brush I admit but an honest assessment on what I have seen.

      • Couldn’t agree more, the little fluffy ones are the most aggressive, a point their owners either are oblivious to, or I choose to ignore until a dog retaliates.

  5. So is workplace health and safety also going to investigate? This guy should be hit with everything possible. The cafe worker should bring a civil suit against him. Boycott this cafe, who wants to put more money in the pocket of [place]? There are plenty of other cafes for all the workers to get another job.

      • So a dog that is traditionally a working dog, a “catch” dog which hunts and catches large animals such as wild boar, you’re totally cool with it hanging out at a cafe???? Are you serious? Google image search cane corso attacks and tell me that you are totally fine with such a dog being unmuzzled in a suburban setting at a cafe. Google cane corso kills jogger and get back to me and tell me you can trust a human to own such an animal that’s not used for it’s intended purpose. Obviously the owner of [this dog at the] Roadhouse Cafe has some sort of need to overcompensate for something that is lacking with his giant dog …

  6. Perhaps the owners of roadhouse should simply ban dogs from entering the cafe inside or out. Dog owners would have to tie their dogs up in a designated area away from all patrons on the other side of the wooden sleepers. Last time we were there a largish dog was drooling within a few centimetres of our paleo plate. Gross. We won’t be going to Roady again (pity) until this policy is implemented. Why doesn’t someone open up a Dog Café? preferably far away from anywhere ; )

  7. My understanding is that the owner of the dog is the owner of the cafe, which makes it all the worse. Massive negligence on his part.

  8. I find it totally bizarre that the Roadhouse still has a photo of a rabid, attacking dog on a t-shirt worn by one of their staff who is holding a pan of muffins, on their instagram page . Check it out it’s from 2 weeks ago, around the time of the attack . What’s up with that? The cafe worker presumably has a permanently mangled face, a life changing facial injury. How in the world will the dog owner make amends?

  9. to: Jon

    You obviously know nothing about this breed.
    Its a tragic, one off incident….

    we had mastino napoletano at home (in apartment situation) when we were growing up….with 2 cats, 2 birds, fish, 2 kids and a German Shepherd in the house…
    they are fantastic dogs and intelligent…..

    and we always had house of full of guests and visitors….never any us or anybody in the house was harmed or felt unwelcomed!

    please do your research before people make comments without knowing nothing about the subject matter!

    cheers

  10. To Helen: cool story bro. This dog had already been declared menacing, was meant to be muzzled and chained up when off it’s own property.

  11. These people have no regard for general code of conduct running a business why would they pay attention to council telling them how to manage their dogs? There are always dogs roaming that cafe it’s gross. Not to mention breaching alcohol serving restrictions and parking restrictions. What a joke. But they’ll weasel their way around it as they do.

  12. my life goals were questioned here – i won’t go back – i don’t like turmeric it shouldn’t equate to being ostracised from a cafe – there are always many roaming dogs at this cafe which seems unhygienic for a food business and the staff are playing with dogs then handling food but I’m a bad person for not liking turmeric?

  13. If one of those douche-canoe hipsters dogs bit me at his cafe, i would execute the dog that instant …then give the owner a huge beat down.

  14. I think by now It is clear the necessary measures to take when owning a dog or approaching one but unfortunately when one comes out of nowhere fast anything could happen. I know there are a lot of dog whisperers out there who think they are invincible and owners whoSe love overrides their dogs capability for anything savage but please remember that not everyone feels that way. if you want your do to roam free go somewhere else. I love German shepherds but two chased my friend do and but her bottom running, I love staffys but one got hold of a friends dog and lock jawed. Animals are unpredictable and humans do make mistakes and learn the hard way like in this case. I am not a hipster by any means but I don’t think it’s good to condescend this place or label it either especially in a place like Byron which I feel emanates love. I hope this incident enforces the need to remember that all animals are unpredictable. And not to use this medium as a way to get out anger for a situation that is really tragic. I hope the girl gets better and the owner of the dog eventually forgives himself and the rest of us learn from this. Peace.

    • well said but it doesnt sound like baryon bay is a apeacfil place anymore at all Alot of dictatorial people with o empathy at all. I also hope the girl recovers.
      I have recently elected to put down my beloved pet for biting and it was just a freak thing die to lawn mower noise. Iys hard for any dog owner put down their pet and often hard to understand the pets behaviour when they are like little lambs with you. I dont think all dogs and dog ownes that have anything bigger than apoodel should be condemned

  15. Yeah, Peace and Love is actually considering the safety of others. Peace and Love is taking steps to prevent a totally preventable “one off tragic incident”. When your dog has already been declared menacing by council rangers, Peace and Love is keeping it muzzled and chained up securely as per the legally required order.
    The thing is, owners of these types of dogs know it isn’t going to attack them, they’re quite happy to take the chance that it will mangle someone else, someone else’s child, someone else’s dog, someone else’s face.

  16. The Roadhouse owner’s dog had previously bitten my daughter’s friend’s hand which required stitches. The guy had not compunction. Feral dogs mostly have feral owners.

    • Hi Rhyl,

      This is unbelievable – was it not reported? do you know when this happened? and is it possible for you to be able to put her in contact with Council? As the dog was on a menacing order, and it makes a big difference to the matter- the owner of the dog will do everything he can to avoid a just consequence if he showed no compunction.

  17. Peter is spot on.
    How peaceful is it to deliberately hide the facts that the cafe owner’s dog is a menacing dog, ordered under strict controls, and then he so respectfully thinks himself above these laws that he breaks every order placed over the dog, hides the fact it is dangerous, and then encourages the staff member to pat the dog. Very loving very peaceful – very all at one. Get a grip! Seriously. Forgiveness comes when there is some genuine honesty in the truth of matters.

  18. i think the dog, the owner and the cafe should be put down. The place is a joke. Great food, ok sure. but crap service with socially inept staff.

  19. Amazing how many dog experts come out of the closet and spew forth their vitriolic fervour on how this and that dog should be banned whenever someone gets bitten.
    A friend of mine got ” lockjawed” ..as the ignorant like to put it , by a Chihuahua once on his big toe , does that mean we should ban that breed.
    The onus needs to be on the owner and not the dog. I had trouble once with my Cane Corso down at the local dog park. After being attacked several times as a pup and stood over by menacing mongrels whos owners thought that they had tough dogs , mine decided to get in first.
    End result several thousand dollars in Vet bills to to other persons great dane cross’ and a Council order on my dog.
    As my professional dog trainer said ” dogs have long memories and dont forget being beat up.”

  20. I would like everyone that has an issue with dogs in cafes/ restaurants to contact me. I am looking to out law this idiosyncrasy.

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