Pack mauls cat to death as dangerous dog petition gathers pace

Ian Bushnell 17 October 2017 14

Amanda Lyons of Rivett and her cat Jasper: “I’m heartbroken.”

The pack mauling to death of a Rivett couple’s beloved cat in the front yard of their property on Monday morning has given extra impetus to an online petition calling for the ACT Government to take action on dangerous dogs.

Amanda Lyons said she had just let her black cat Jasper out the front door with her while she had a coffee about 6 am. Moments later she was startled by a kerfuffle in the garden and Jasper screaming.

She couldn’t see in the dawn light how many dogs were involved but knew there was more than one.

Ms Lyons said she saw them running across the road and down a battleaxe driveway leaving a trail of blood and fur.

Upset at the amount of blood, she turned back to get her husband and they followed the trail down to the nearby reserve where they found three Staffordshire terriers, one with a gash under his eye.

“The dogs were just standing there, tails wagging , their ears down, acting like they were in trouble,” she said.

But Jasper was nowhere to be found and Ms Lyons hoped he was only wounded and in hiding.

Some time later her husband spoke to the owner who said the untagged dogs had been escaping his property by climbing up a tree and over the fence but appeared to be in denial about the attack, saying they had never gone for a cat before.

After quickly leafleting the neighbourhood, people whose property backs on to the reserve near where the dogs were seen called about midday to say they had found Jasper’s body.

“He didn’t really stand a chance. They were in pack hunting mode. It’s funny because Jasper actually loves dogs. He didn’t have a frame of reference for what was about to happen,” Ms Lyons said.

She said her husband had taken a video of the dogs and what they had done but the couple had not yet contacted Domestic Animal Services.

“I’m pretty heartbroken. I was hoping I’d wake up and find it’s all a bad dream,” she said.

Ms Lyons said she had nothing against the Staffordshire breed and didn’t want to see someone’s pet be put down.

“Because it’s not the animal’s fault for following nature but you can’t give them that opportunity. You train them and teach them and keep them away from situations.

“Three dogs roaming the streets at 6 am is not appropriate,” she said.

Ms Lyons said they would ask the dogs’ owner to cut down the tree and take measures to secure his property but if he was still in denial they would take the matter to DAS, show them the video and let them decide.

A skinny RSPCA kitten, Jasper turned into a ball of fluff who was a very affectionate animal and had never been in a fight with anyone or anything.

“He chose us. We were looking at another cat and he poked his paw out of the cage and grabbed us as we walked past,” she said.

He loved jumping on the car that was parked in the driveway.

“I’ve asked why didn’t you jump up? There were lots of places up he could have gone,” Ms Lyons said.

The online petition, started by Renee Dean and backed by the Canberra Liberals, says the ACT Government’s current method of managing dangerous dogs in Canberra is ineffective in deterring and responding to dog attacks, leaving victims of dog attacks financially, physically and emotionally deserted.

More than 400 people have already signed the petition.

It defines dangerous dogs as those that have attacked a person or other animal, causing physical injury or death, and is not aimed at particular breed.

The petition says the number of human and animal victims of dangerous dog attacks in Canberra is increasing at an alarming rate.

“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. This figure excludes dog attacks that have not been reported. Furthermore, victims of dog attacks are left to pick up the financial, physical and emotional damage with little or no assistance from the Government, while the dangerous dogs are often merely licensed, given back to their owners and let out into the Canberra community once again,” it says.

“Your petitioners therefore request the Assembly to make Canberra suburbs and parks safe from dangerous dogs by amending legislation to clearly define on what grounds a dangerous dog should be put down and the ramifications for an owner of a dangerous dog after an attack.”

In August, RiotACT reported how a Gordon teenage boy required plastic surgery to his arm after a dog viciously attacked him in a suburban park.

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14 Responses to Pack mauls cat to death as dangerous dog petition gathers pace
Elly Yeung Elly Yeung 12:25 pm 16 Nov 17

The ACT Government is not tough enough on owners, especially the DAS, around same time last year when me and my dog(with leash) walked pass my neighbour’s front lawn and their pit bull run out and attached my dog and I wasn’t quick enough to lift up my dog and he got bitten on both legs. The damm owner didn’t even come and check on us and when I was yelling at him he gesture with the middle finger, to make thing worst I got a warning from complaining to DAS. I am still very upset how the DAS handling this incident. There is no justice for my dog and he is not aggressive and just walked pass.

PressReset77 PressReset77 11:09 am 21 Oct 17

My heart goes out to Amanda and her husband. Such a tragic loss of a beloved pet. I am a dog and cat lover, but if people are going to have animals, they MUST be responsible for them. I find the attitude of the dog owner quite appalling. Cut down the damn tree.

The same thing happened to my in law’s cat in Gordon about ten years ago. They were devastated, and said the same thing – he didn’t have a chance against a pack of dogs 🙁

sportsmum sportsmum 1:57 pm 20 Oct 17

I think that these poor people should definitely contact DAS about this attack.
I also support the option to impose a fine on dog owners whose dogs escape multiple times.
I really don’t know why people in urban areas need more than two dogs as well – perhaps we ought to reduce the number of dogs that people can have in urban areas from four to two.

Yana Yana 6:21 pm 19 Oct 17

This happened to us, 3 Staffordshires mauled our cat to death on her own front lawn. This was several years ago but it still pains me that she had a terrifying and brutal end. The neighbour, who owned the dogs, simply offered to pay for a new cat. I’m certain many on here will disagree but those little dogs are not good in numbers and I wish there was restrictions on how many one household can own. Yes, this can happen with other breeds but it’s always the same culprits. Sorry for your loss.

Leo61 Leo61 12:45 pm 19 Oct 17

A very sad story. I have a dog and 2 cats but I walk my dog on lead all the time and I live in a cat containment suburb only a couple of kms away…so it will never happen to my cats.
It is our responsibility as pets owners to do the right thing.

Ginger Rogers Ginger Rogers 12:15 am 19 Oct 17

I have two cats & a dog. Tonight walking my dog we were stalked by a loose dog at the golf course. Mine was on leash. This other animal lunged & feinted at us. I was scared. My dog is often harassed by other dogs even at the dog park because he’s submissive. I’m so sick of irresponsible dog owners. The ACT Government needs to get tough on owners. I want dog licenses attached to driver licenses or utility bills, on the spot fines, isbn bar codes on their registration tags, mandatory neutering & more stringent dog ownership rules. I would be distraught if this had happened to either of my cats.

Betty Gobin Betty Gobin 7:37 pm 18 Oct 17

we also live in rivett and about 3 months ago our beautiful cat was also mauled to death by 3 black dogs at 4am this was and still is very painful. these dogs came onto our property after seeking our cat, this was reported to animal services at the time ,these 3 dogs roam our suburb at night looking for prey this I know because they have returned several times since , mainly at night. I know how Amanda is feeling , it takes along time for something like this to heal, these dogs are a problem and have been for a while now our thoughts are with Amanda and others that have lost their cats

Garfield Garfield 1:36 pm 18 Oct 17

Too many pet owners seem to think that its their right to have a pet and they have no responsibilities to neighbours, neighbours’ pets and their own pets. The fact that the owner of the dogs knew they had been getting out and hadn’t done anything to rectify the escape point, and from the sounds of it didn’t think it was a big deal, suggests a reckless disregard for the broader community and his own dogs welfare. In addition to the dogs being declared dangerous and possibly destroyed as a result, he should be facing a big fine.

carnardly carnardly 10:22 am 18 Oct 17

saying they’ve never gone for a cat before seems to indicate that they’ve gone for other things. Even if they haven’t, there’s always a first time. good owners take responsibility. i hope jasper’s mum and dad got photos of the dogs with blood on them.

carnardly carnardly 10:16 am 18 Oct 17

sorry to Jasper’s mum and dad. I’d be devastated if my cat got mauled to death by someone’s dog on MY property

JimCharles JimCharles 9:22 pm 17 Oct 17

Awful story, and Canberra seems to be rife with this sort of thing. Owners need to be fined properly or they will just act dumb, a few dogs need to be removed, and there should be a limit on how dogs many can live in a property in a suburban area because they compete.

DavieCBR DavieCBR 5:46 pm 17 Oct 17

How terrible! I hope someone from the authorities is paying attention to this article – we don’t want dogs in packs roaming our streets.

Maya123 Maya123 4:11 pm 17 Oct 17

How sad.

JazzyJess JazzyJess 2:55 pm 17 Oct 17

Just awful, so sorry for the cat’s owners. Same thing happened to me years ago except my cat survived and the dog owners took full responsibility to fix the fence (the dogs had dug under to get into my yard) and paid the vet bills.

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