FINE MESS: Heather Gurney with her dog, Yogi. Ms Gurney claims she has been fined $1320 by Richmond Valley Council because of Y
FINE MESS: Heather Gurney with her dog, Yogi. Ms Gurney claims she has been fined $1320 by Richmond Valley Council because of Y

Council puts bite on to Yogi's bark

By SAMANTHA TURNBULL

HEATHER GURNEY doesn't know which is worse ? her dog Yogi's bark or bite.

But the Casino woman says she is being fined $1320 for both.

However, Richmond Valley Council general manager Brian Wilkinson said the fine was simply a result of Ms Gurney failing to tell the council she had moved from Coraki to Casino.

The move would not have been an issue if Yogi had not nipped a woman's ankle in Coraki in 2001.

After the bite, the sevenand-a-half-year-old fox terrier-cross was officially classified as 'dangerous', despite the fact the woman kicked him first and required no treatment for the minor wound.

Four years later, Ms Gurney has been fined by the council.

She said she received a letter in September to say she was being fined, but she had to ring an office in Sydney to find out exactly what for.

"They said the dog had been barking in the frontyard, I had no child-proof enclosures and I had not changed my address," she said.

Ms Gurney admitted she had not changed her address to reflect her move to Casino, but she said she had changed it since then.

She also said she had a medical certificate excusing her of the slip-up because she was on medication that resulted in memory loss.

When it came to not having official child-proof enclosures, Mrs Gurney said there was no need because she had no children.

"I've had cancer and I can't have children," she said.

"I have a laundry with a lockable door and a lock on my bedroom door ? both could be considered as child-proof enclosures if I needed them."

Ms Gurney has therefore come to the conclusion she is being penalised because her dog barks.

"Any vet will tell you it's instinctive for a dog to bark when someone walks past their territory," she said.

"I got a phone call from Brian Wilkinson who said the infringement stands.

"I'm going to have to fight it in court because I can't afford $1320."

Mr Wilkinson said yesterday Ms Gurney had not been fined because her dog barked.

"The situation is the dog she has was declared as dangerous in 2001 and she was required to comply with certain things," he said.

"She needed to change her address, which she hadn't done."

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