Yesterday’s lead story in The News about a family’s dog — Snoop — facing the prospect of being euthanised saw an emotional response from readers.
The News’ Facebook page had hundreds of comments after we posted the story about a Kialla family fighting to save their pet Staffordshire terrier cross.
Overwhelmingly, followers were shocked at the news, and outraged at the prospect of a much-loved pet potentially being taken away from an adoring family.
Adding even more significance is the fact that Snoop is a companion dog to 16-year-old Maggie, who has been battling depression.
The key issue is whether the dog is going to be — or should be — declared dangerous.
Confusing matters is the fact that Whittlesea City Council is the authority seeking the dangerous dog classification, following information that emerged from a recent court case.
That council said Snoop was involved in an attack on another dog in April last year that led to that dog’s death.
The Kialla family adopted Snoop six months ago from the RSPCA in Epping. The family said that organisation put dogs through rigorous temperament testing before they were re-homed.
The family says Snoop has never displayed any aggressive tendencies and was blossoming in a loving home.
We don’t know the full story behind the dog attack, or information about Snoop’s previous owners.
The salient point here is that this family should never have been put in this position. But, through no fault of their own, here they are.
Dogs quickly become part of a family — and in this case, Snoop’s presence has also been therapeutic for someone going through a difficult time.
No-one wants to see dog attacks, whether they are on other animals or humans. The effects are wide-ranging and potentially fatal.
We also acknowledge that councils have a job to do to ensure the public is kept safe from such dogs.
But in our view, these appear to be exceptional circumstances.
And surely, if the dog is ultimately deemed to be dangerous under the act, there must be a number of possible measures available to manage such a situation.
We hope that common sense will prevail and that this story has a happy ending.