Scrappy Doo with Veronica Penman.
Scrappy Doo with Veronica Penman. Contributed

Roaming laws put woman's pet dog on death row

A TOOWOOMBA woman has been left devastated after she found out Toowoomba Regional Council wants to put down her pet dog.

Veronica Penman's beloved pet Scrappy Doo, named because he looked like Scooby Doo's brother in the 2002 movie, had escaped from her home five times in the past few months, on one occasion knocking over a student at a neighbouring primary school.

"The last time he escaped I was unloading wood and I had him inside so he couldn't get out," Ms Penman said.

"Someone opened the front door and he got out."

She said the council's animal management team informed her that they intended to put Scrappy Doo down because of how many times the 12-month-old dog had escaped.

The Toowoomba Regional Council has the power under local laws to put down a dog if it had been caught roaming three or more times in a 12-month period.

Ms Penman said this could not have come at a worse time.

"I recently lost my dad to cancer and my long-term relationship has broken up," she said. "Scrappy changed my life, he gave me purpose."

Scrappy Doo behind bars.
Scrappy Doo behind bars. Contributed

Ms Penman said she had applied through QCAT for a "stay of execution" for Scrappy. She said if the council released Scrappy she had a dog trainer ready to go to keep him from escaping.

"My friends have donated a Colorbond fence, so he won't get out again," she said.

"He's my best buddy, he makes me good, we go everywhere together.

"His personality is just amazing. He doesn't bark, he's not savage or aggressive."

The council's environment and community leader Cr Joe Ramia said as Ms Penman had engaged legal counsel, and as the process could involve legal proceedings, he did not want to comment on the specifics of her case.

"Dog owners have a responsibility to maintain control of their dogs in public at all times," Cr Ramia said.

"They also have a duty to ensure dogs are properly enclosed in private yards and do not wander. When council impounds an animal a review process is available to the owner. While the animal is impounded it is cared for, given exercise and checked regularly by a veterinarian."

Cr Ramia said many problems associated with dogs occur when owners do not take appropriate steps to ensure dogs are kept at home.

"Roaming dogs can be confronting to members of the public and there can be serious consequences," he said.

"It is simply not acceptable for dog owners to allow their dogs to roam the streets and the community rightly has an expectation that the council will take action with irresponsible dog owners."

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