The house in Canberra’s north where the attacked occurred. Picture: Kym SmithSource:News Corp Australia
The house in Canberra’s north where the attacked occurred. Picture: Kym SmithSource:News Corp Australia

Killer dog had attacked before

THE dog that horrifically mauled its owner to death in Canberra early on Wednesday morning was known to the authorities and had attacked before, it has been revealed.

Tania Klemke was reportedly killed by her dog around 4am in the suburb of Watson in the city's north.

Police were forced to shoot and kill the dog after it attacked them when they were working to save the life of the woman aged in her 40s.

A man who was visiting the house is being treated in hospital for bite wounds sustained in the rampage.

ACT City Services Minister, Meeghan Fitzharris, told the ABC the dog was known to the Territory Government.

"On one previous occasion (Domestic Animal Services) did attend that household at the request of ACT police," Ms Fitzharris said.

The previous attack reportedly happened in August.

"I understand that someone may have been injured, and I also understand that the dog may have been injured in that attack as well ... Clearly the dog was dangerous."

There are reports the breed was a pit bull, but ACT Police has yet to confirm the dog type.

Fairfax has reported that the dog's owner, who has yet to be named by Police may have been "a little afraid of the dog." However, she kept it close because it had defended the family during a home invasion in March.

"He took a bullet for us," his owner is reported to have said in a text.

She is said to have told friends, "the last person who tried coming in ... ended in hospital with 42 stitches".

Neighbours have said they often heard the dog "growling" - one said "it almost got my boys."

Detective Acting Superintendent Tony Crocker said "this was a tragic death. Police were called at 3.40am after reports from neighbours of someone calling for help.

"Police were directed by a male in the backyard into the premises towards a female lying inside. A dog was also inside. While CPR was being performed on the female victim, the dog moved to attack the police officers, and in order to protect themselves there was a necessity to discharge the fire round."

The woman's body has now been removed from the home.

Det Corker said the man had a bite to the inside of his leg. "He doesn't appear to have life-threatening injuries and is in a stable condition."

He said they were unsure of the ownership of the dog.

"Fortunately the officers were not injured. This is a very tragic event for the family, and our thoughts go out to the family for what is quite a horrific incident," he said.

AFP Forensic Services and ACT Policing Criminal Investigations attended and were investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident. A report will be prepared for the ACT Coroner.

It's understood the man was a visitor to the home.

Neighbours said they had often heard the dog growling and barking and were afraid the dog might attack.

Dieu Do told Fairfax she feared her two children's safety. "A dog, jumped over my back fence a few times last year and almost got my boys. I often hear [a dog] growling near my window, so I always lock up."

The ACT Opposition is pushing for legislation to make it easier to punish owners of dangerous dogs following a series of maulings in the territory.

On August 5, two puppies survived after three larger dogs jumped over a fence and set upon them. The next day, two pit bulls off-lead repeatedly bit a poodle. petition calling on the ACT Government to better manage dangerous dogs has been signed by more than 600 people.

In 2013, 84 people presented at ACT public hospital emergency departments as a result of a dog attack; in 2016, the number was 155. "This means there is on average a dog attack on a person every second day," said Renee Dean who started the petition.

Canberra Liberals' urban services spokesman Steve Doszpot said he suspected dog maulings were even more common.

"The number of attacks on humans is actually larger [than official figures] and there is also a large number of attacks on animals," he told the Canberra Times.

"If the dog you have attacks another dog or a person there's got to be some recognition of that. You're responsible for the dog, you've got to handle the dog safely and if anything happens you're liable for the physical damage and the property damage that occurs."

In August, Sue Lopicich who ran a boarding kennel in Perth was mauled to death by a bull mastiff.

A neighbour of Ms Lopicich told the ABC the body was found by her daughter, who came to check on her mother after concerns were raised when she did not turn up for work at a local childcare centre.

Neighbour Kerrie Pearce said there had been a number of dog fights at the property and Ms Lopicich had been injured in the past trying to break them up.

"I never liked what she did down there, she used to just mingle them in together and you can't mingle them together, you've got to keep them separate," she said.

Structural damage a concern after fire in business hub

Premium Content Structural damage a concern after fire in business hub

A BUILDING sustained significant damage in the early-morning blaze.

Woman dies after being found with critical injuries

Premium Content Woman dies after being found with critical injuries

A FAMILY member found the woman injured in her North Coast home earlier this...

Crews battle fire at shopping complex

Premium Content Crews battle fire at shopping complex

Firefighters were called to reports of smoke coming from a building