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Byron Shire
May 18, 2022

Court issues warrant for arrest of owner of menacing dog

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A file image of a typical American Staffordshire terrier. Photo Wikimedia.

The Magistrate at the Byron Bay Local Court has issued a warrant for the arrest of the owner of a menacing dog after she failed to appear in court last week.

It followed an incident in Byron Bay in January 2018 when the defendant’s dog, an American Staffordshire terrier, badly injured a toy poodle and bit the poodle’s owner and another person at a property in Jonson Street.

The poodle’s neck was ripped open during the attack and it was revealed the Staffordshire terrier was a declared menacing dog after biting a six year old boy in Sydney in 2016.

Staff from Byron Shire Council’s Animal and Enforcement team investigated the incident and found the dog was not muzzled or under effective control at the time of the attack as was required under the Companion Animals Act.

Given the severity of the injuries to the poodle, and the seriousness of the matter, staff issued a Court Attendance Notice in lieu of an on-the-spot fine.

Council staff could not intervene concerning the control of the dog as the owner relocated to Queensland.

Council’s Legal Counsel, Ralph James, said that when the defendant failed to appear in court her solicitor withdrew from proceedings and the matter was dealt with in her absence.

The defendant was convicted and a warrant issued for her arrest.  The court also ordered that she pay $7,600 in professional costs and witnesses expenses.

‘The Magistrate indicated that he was not prepared to impose a fine in the defendant’s absence because it did not indicate the seriousness of the matter,’ Mr James said.

‘The defendant was also disqualified for life from owning a dog or being in charge of a dog in a public place,’ he said.

‘When the defendant is ultimately brought before the court she is facing a maximum penalty of $22,000 or four years in prison,’ Mr James said.

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  1. Well done Byron. Other Councils would do well to follow your lead. Prosecute the mongrel dog owners and stop pussyfooting around.

    The sooner we get rid of this useless and dangerous version of pitbull the safer we will all be.

    In my experience the disposition of the dog reflects that of the owner.

    • Nothing wrong with the breed, they were around long before pit bulls, who are only dangerous when they have idiot or violent owners who seek to use the dog as a weapon to make themselves feel powerful and intimidating. So even if it was a pit bull, you’d still be wrong. It is owners who have caused the harms when their dog goes off tap uncontrolled. Plenty of responsible dog owners have dogs they keep safe from harming others because they cannot be trusted unrestrained or even unmuzzled, they may not know how the dog got that way, and of course some are born mean – like humans – but this is not breed specific in any way shape or form. In fact, American staffies are a great breed, much calmer than the original Staffordshire Bull Terrier, from the UK but just as family-friendly and vocal. If that woman really loved that dog, she would have kept him safe from this horrible incident, especially as she already knew he had biting behaviours and the dog was ordered to be muzzled in public. Dogs get used to muzzles, some even like them. Better than a death sentence – which is what she has given him now, if they ever get hold of that dog he will be on a destruction order in no time – he’ll be held in a cell for a few months and then put the death. Or worse, he kills someone… I hope they pick her up on that warrant and give her that jail sentence, not suspended, she has earned it.

    • Not true joe. You were right when you said to prosecute the dog owners because without those idiots owning dogs, the safer we will all be. If you get rid of the staffys, theyll find another dog to train to be dangerous and then that breed of dog will become more popular, leading to more bites statistically. Border collies, fox terriers, you name it, can all be dangerous if the owner is irresponsible. I have an am staffy, the most wonderful boy you’ll ever meet, but that doesnt mean i trust him unsupervised. Hes still a dog, capable of doing harm to another animal unintentionally (if theyre playing rough). So you wont ever see me in court over my dogs behaviour. And i will continue to own staffys for their lovely, goofy nature.

  2. Well, the way I read it is that this dog and her owner have moved to QLD. She was issued with a court attendance notice and didn’t attend. There might be a warrant out against her however at this stage the dog is still out and about and can yet maul another person or dog. Why isn’t there a law that permits authorities to collect that dog until the matter has been dealt with in court? Convicted maybe but still a danger to the public.

  3. The article states: “The Magistrate at the Byron Bay Local Court has issued a warrant for the arrest of the owner of a menacing dog after she failed to appear in court last week”. Presuming he or she is under 18 would not the staffy have to appear in the Juvenile Court? 🙂


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