Malamute owners ordered to pay thousands towards vet bills after their dog attacked neighbour’s Shih Tzu
An Alaskan Malamutes named Ranger has cost its owner thousands in vet bills after it attacked a Shih Tzu and a Canberra court found the owners partially responsible.
- The pair of Alaskan Malamutes attacked the Shih Tzu in September 2017
- One of the Malamutes was up for adoption at the time
- Both owners were fined a combined total of $12,600
The ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal heard Orea, the Shih Tzu, had to be removed from Ranger’s mouth during the attack in September last year.
Orea’s owner took the case to Tribunal in a bid to be compensated for the cost of her dog’s veterinary care, as well as credit card interest earned on those payments.
At the time of the attack, Ranger’s owner was living with another person, who was also held partly responsible by the court.
The owner of their rental property and a Malamute rehoming group were also targeted in the case, but eventually deemed not liable.
Ranger was in the process of a trial adoption by the rehoming group at the time of the attack, and Orea’s owner had taken exception to an advertisement that described the dog as “a gorgeous cuddly boy” after the attack.
She said there was no disclosure in the advertisement about the attack on her dog, and argued there should have been a warning issued, stating “he can be selective with doggie companions”.
“Like most Arctic breeds he would not be suited to a home with cats or pocket pets,” she suggested the ad should have read.
The Tribunal heard Ranger, accompanied by another Malamute named Babe, had entered the garden behind theirs, through a dilapidated fence, which has since been replaced.
During the hearing, the owner of Orea expressed concern the owner of Babe was shifting all responsibility to his then-partner — Ranger’s owner — who now lives in New Zealand.
She said she was concerned any financial penalty would be unenforceable.
But the Tribunal ordered Babe’s owner pay just under half the penalty, with Ranger’s owner to cover the remainder of the $12,600 sum.
The original order was for a total of just over $14,000 — but that was reduced by 10 per cent after the Tribunal found Orea’s owner had contributed to the negligence because she knew the fence was dilapidated and had done nothing about it.
The owner of the rented home was cleared of any responsibility, as was the Malamute rehoming organisation.