Rangers warn dog group president

BYRON Shire Council rangers recently issued a formal warning to the president of Brunswick Area Responsible Canine Owners (BARCO) after a complaint was lodged against her two English Staffordshire dogs.

Geraldine Lockyer was warned to keep her dogs under effective control and was "made aware of her obligations through the NSW Animal Law Guide".

The elderly complainant, who wished to remain anonymous due to fear of reprisal, claimed the male dogs had harassed them on three separate occasions over the past nine months on New Brighton's off-leash area.

"After one of the incidences, I ended up on antibiotics, had $500 worth of physio, and I couldn't drive for a week," the complainant said.

"I didn't initially report it because it wasn't exactly an attack, but then I went back to the doctor because an ulceration had started, which took four months to heal.

"These dogs aren't just boisterous, they're out of control."

Ms Lockyer, who advocates responsible ownership through BARCO, vehemently denies the allegations.

"There is victimisation going on here," she said when contacted by the Byron Shire News.

"I don't have dangerous dogs - they're well-trained, they're well-fed, they're well-exercised and they go to the vet regularly."

Byron Shire Council's website states that "even within these (off-leash) zones, it is important to remain in control of your dog, carry a lead and ensure it does not harass other people, other pets or wander off outside of the designated areas into bird breeding habitats".

Cr Patrick Morrisey said: "Some people just don't fully appreciate that you can't allow your dog to jump on or cause stress to other people without their consent.

"Kids, elderly people, and everyone for that matter, need to know they can go to the beach and other public spaces and feel space that they won't encounter a dog off a lead and not under effective control.

"Companion animals should not jump on people or cause stress, or invade their personal space without people's consent, no matter how friendly or well-intended. If a person did it, it could be called assault."

NSW councils have the power to declare any dog "dangerous", which places responsibilities on the owner for control and containment of the animal.

Penalties include a maximum jail term of two years and fines of up to $55,000.

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