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Dog attack on Cooleman Ridge, Chapman

By MarieTherese - 10 November 2011 24

My husband and I were walking our 11 year old Beagle up on Cooleman Ridge, Chapman on a Sunday afternoon in September.  I am expecting our first child and we were out for a relaxing Sunday afternoon walk in the nature and sunshine.

We unfortunately were approached by some dogs off lead without any owners.  A staffordshire bull terrier came up to my dog and started growling and biting him.   My husband picked up the beagle and the Staffy then jumped up and latched onto the beagles back leg and wouldn’t let go. When the staffy eventually let go, the staffy started biting into my husband.  My husband couldn’t defend himself because he was holding the beagle and his arms were not free.  I eventually caught hold of the staffy by the collar and was able to stop it from biting.  We called the ambulance and Domestic Animal Services and waited.  My husband had facial and arm injuries.  My dog’s rear leg nearly broke.

Just before the ambulance arrived, the owner of the dog appeared.  He insisted on taking the dog to keep it from biting other people.  He gave me his phone number and first name.  We weren’t happy about giving him the dog because we were waiting for the ranger from Domestic Animal Services.  However, the owner insisted and was making a nuisance of himself, while my husband was on the ground bleeding from the attack.  The owner never showed any concern for my husband’s or my dog’s injuries.

When I rang the number of the owner a week later to ask him to pay the vetinerary bills for the bite to my dog the phone went to voicemail.  The message asked me to call his office, which is a Criminal Law firm in the ACT.  I called the office and this also went to voicemail.  So I emailed the veterinary costs to the office, which I found his address on the internet.

He never returned calls or replied to the email.  On his website it says they always return calls/emails and don’t drag the chain.  However, this is not the case.  The owner has never showed any concern at all or enquired as to how my husband was, or how the dog was.  He has since said that he will not take any responsibility for the attack.

We have lodged this case with Domestic Animal Services and they have taken written statements.  However, the owner has ignored every letter they have sent him.

I took the veterinary bill into the owner’s law firm and left it with the secretary.  He had one of his lawyers ring me and accuse me of being abusive to his staff.  (The lawyer has also accused us of being abusive to him but we have never seen him since the dog attack).  The lawyer that rang me had no concern at all for the injuries that my husband received or about what happened. 

So, he is trying a lot of tricks to evade paying any of the costs, and all we were trying to recover was the Emergency Vet Treatment on the day of the attack.  We have since had to take our dog to the vet on several occasions with other problems that have arisen because of the attack (eg shoulder pain, unusual skin sores).

I wrote to the ACT Law Society about the conduct of this lawyer, about his negligence and treatment of us.  They said they would not investigate because it was a personal matter.

I called A Current Affair and they want to speak to him.  I was just wondering if anyone knows how I can find out when lawyers are appearing in our courts, so that we can meet him on route to one of his cases?

He is a really bad man and has no concern for the injuries we received.  He will take no responsibility for it.  We have called him  10 times now and delivered the bill to him 3 times, but he just ignores it.  He has also ignored every letter that Domestic Animals have delivered to him.  I just cannot believe how irresponsible someone can be and how uncaring.  He lives in the most expensive house in Chapman and can well afford the one veterinary bill that we have asked him to pay.  However, he just won’t do anything.  We have explained that all the costs from the attack are covered by house insurance, but he just ignores everything.

What’s Your opinion?

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24 Responses to
Dog attack on Cooleman Ridge, Chapman
MarieTherese 3:20 pm 10 Nov 11

We have been to the police. The police won’t get involved unless Domestic Animal Services requests them to do so. We have no idea what has happened to the dog. It is up to Domestic Animal Services to follow this up. The owner had not registered the dog, so that has made things difficult.

We were very worried on the day of the attack because there were a lot of children walking dogs up on Cooleman Ridge without adult supervision. If this dog had attacked one of them first it could well have been fatal.

Also, we don’t see the point in hiring a lawyer as the owner is a Criminal Lawyer who is expert at finding loopholes in the law.

This is why we are resorting to the media. We want to bring some attention to the issue. When this story appears on A Current Affair, the details of the lawyer involved will be made public.

Classified 3:20 pm 10 Nov 11

You need legal advice. Get a lawyer, and figure out what it will take to close out the incident.

colourful sydney rac 3:14 pm 10 Nov 11

ah, this smells a bit like the post months ago by the purported husband of a woman who was allegedly victim of a road rage incident.

So I will ask, what did the police say when you called them?

amarooresident3 3:08 pm 10 Nov 11

Seriously, if what you say happened is true go to the cops and get yourself a lawyer. While your husband and dog might be on the mend, you deserve some sort of reimbursement/compenstion for what has happened. More importantly, if the dog is as dangerous as it appears to be it could be a child next time who might not be so lucky.

MarieTherese 3:01 pm 10 Nov 11

Thank you everyone for your comments. Luckily my husband and beagle are now recovering but the injuries have been very painful. My husband spent 5 hours in emergency on the Sunday evening waiting to be treated. He may have facial scarring that could need further treatment, but we won’t know for a few months if it is permanent.

I have contacted ACAT and unfortunately they haven’t been much help. They are in disagreement about what they can give reimbursement for and their advice been confusing.

amarooresident3 2:57 pm 10 Nov 11

Before you do ACA here’s a tip – they want your story, they don’t actually care about you, your husband or your dog. Don’t be surprised if, after they’ve got their five minute sensational story, you never hear from them again and your problem still won’t be fixed.

Do a police report if you haven’t done already and lawyer up yourself. Sounds like you’ll need it.

Good luck.

EvanJames 2:05 pm 10 Nov 11

carnardly said :

what’s the bet he’ll see this and suddenly decide to cough up the $$$.

We might see one of those strangely well-informed refutation posts shortly, only this one might be spelled and punctuated better than the standard efforts. It will still tell us that the dog was a saint and would give you the shirt of its back, the bitten people were underbelly-esque characters who deserved it, and the beagle was known to police and dealing drugs.

Henry82 1:52 pm 10 Nov 11

If you haven’t already done so, get a police report. Send him an invoice for all the bills (using registered mail), and tell him you’ll book him in for ACAT if he doesn’t give you a call to sort the bills out within a week.

s-s-a 1:38 pm 10 Nov 11

Another vote here for lodging a claim with ACAT.

While getting ACA to bail him up outside the courthouse might be great TV for people who like that kind of thing (especially with pregnant wronged woman for added sympathy), I fail to see how it’s going to make headway into extracting the reimbursement. All it will do is inflame the situation even further.

carnardly 1:32 pm 10 Nov 11

what’s the bet he’ll see this and suddenly decide to cough up the $$$.

meanwhile… if you were to recommend against any legal firm for unprofessional behaviour, which one would it be? *winks*

MissChief 1:14 pm 10 Nov 11

Surely a vicious attack like that should be reported to Police? The ranger should also have the power to impound the dog.

EvanJames 1:12 pm 10 Nov 11

He might not appear in court very often, not all lawyers do, although if it’s criminal law he might. I can find the lists of hearings of the various courts, but they only list the name of the person, not the lawyer.

Yogie 12:37 pm 10 Nov 11

Trying to meet him outside court sounds like a risky idea to me. If you continue through proper channels you can’t be accused of escalating inappropriately.

Ozi 12:22 pm 10 Nov 11

Seems like very poor form. What injuries did your husband end up with? Any stitches needed? Hope the beagle is ok, they have a lovely temperament.

greyswandir 12:11 pm 10 Nov 11

Wouldn’t you be better off filing a claim for reimbursement in the ACAT? You have his address so you can serve it on him. If he doesn’t respond you get a default judgment, if he does he has to come to a conciliation conference.

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