Lismore District Dog School head instructor Janet Goodwin with Dream, the four-month-old Budlington terrrier, and Ming, a six-year-old Americian staffordshire terrier.
Lismore District Dog School head instructor Janet Goodwin with Dream, the four-month-old Budlington terrrier, and Ming, a six-year-old Americian staffordshire terrier. Jacklyn Wagner

Beware savage lapdog

FORGET your staffies, your alsatians and your dobermans – if you want a really scary pup, try a Maltese terrier, says dog expert Janet Goodwin.

“The most aggressive are Maltese terriers because people don’t know how to handle them,” Ms Goodwin said.

“People keep them under their arm and on their lap all the time and if a stranger comes along they’ll try to take their hand off – they can do a bit of damage too.”

However, any bad tempered or dangerous dog can be redeemed – so long as it hasn’t actually attacked someone.

Once they’ve crossed that line, the only real solution was to put them down, she said.

Ms Goodwin, who last night launched a not-for-profit dog obedience class at the Lismore Showground, said there were no inherently dangerous dog breeds – apart from pit-bulls.

Bull mastiffs – one of which was reported to be headed for the Northern Rivers despite having attacked two people in Queensland – were generally known as ‘gentle giants’.

Rockhampton Regional Council in Queensland has corrected comments that a bull mastiff involved in a savage attack on a teenage girl and a 59-year-old woman had been moved to Lismore, saying it was unlikely to reach the Northern Rivers for at least another month.

Two other dogs involved in the attack have been destroyed, with the mastiff still impounded by Rockhampton council, awaiting the findings of an investigation by rangers and a decision by councillors, due next month.

Rockhampton council spokeswoman Alesha Duff said the investigation was looking into complaints about the dog regarding the September 2009 attack on the woman and the teenager.

Ms Duff said she had spoken to the Lismore City Council ranger about the dog and told him the animal was still in the Rockhampton region.

The council previously said it had already told Lismore council about the dog, but a council spokesman said Rockhampton had not mentioned the dog until last Friday.

“They have assured us the dog is still impounded in Rockhampton,” he said.

Ms Goodwin, who has previously run a Sunday dog obedience school for residents of Alstonville and Ballina and who runs a ‘puppy pre-school’ at Alstonville, said she decided to start running classes at Lismore because she believed the city’s dog owners needed them.

Classes were only $5 each and that money would go to Ballina-based animal welfare group Northern Rivers Animal Services.

Lessons are held at the showground each Monday from 6.30pm.

No bookings necessary.



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