Traumatic dog attack

By Daniel Hughes

Finley locals are demanding a crackdown on dog restrictions following a shocking attack at Finley Lake last week.

Newlyweds Matt and Maddie Jackson were admiring the wildlife while walking alongside the lake and sent a photo of two swans and their cygnets to Maddie’s mother Jenny Philpot.

The couple received a shock when a dog that was left off its leash attacked the birds just moments after the photo was taken.

Mrs Philpot said her daughter was traumatised by the incident.

“I received the photo from Maddie and soon after received a call from her, she was quite upset,” she said.

“They (Matt and Maddie) tried to prevent the attack from happening but couldn’t stop the dog.

“I jumped in my ute to go and help but it was too late by the time I arrived.”

Mrs Philpot said it was a horrible scene that could have easily been prevented.

“I could see one (swan) floating in the lake, one in the bin and the other barely alive,” she said.

“People just need to be mindful of their surroundings and the wildlife in the area.

“It’s just a case of keeping your dog on a leash.”

While the Berrigan Shire Council policy doesn’t specifically indicate that dogs must be on a leash at all times, it does state that for the safety and security of the community all companion animals must not be allowed to wander streets unattended or be a nuisance to others.

Mayor Matthew Hannan, who expressed his empathy and sorrow for those who had to witness the event, urged dog owners to use the facilities provided in Finley if they want to walk their dog off the leash.

“It certainly would have been traumatic to witness and, of course, traumatic for the wildlife,” he said.

“You never want to hear or see about those things happening.

“We obviously would recommend people refrain from having their dogs off the leash in public places.

“We would highly recommend owners use the ‘off the leash’ dog area at the Finley showgrounds.

“This is a more controlled environment which has been specifically designated.”

The event has come as Murrumbidgee Council addresses its dog restrictions in parks.

The restrictions state dogs will no longer be allowed at Ovals 1 and 2 of Coleambally Sports Precinct or Monash Park in Jerilderie with signage set to be installed to advise patrons of this new rule.

Mayor Ruth McRae said the decision was made to ensure the safety and well-being of patrons.

Cr McRae added there have been situations where people have felt their safety threatened by dogs, as well as instances where dogs have damaged council facilities.

“We’re not about discouraging people from taking their dogs out as there are great health and social benefits from getting out and about with your dog,” she said.

“However, council reminds people that all dogs in public places must be under the effective control of their owner or handler.”