Edward Mandla
Oscar the Dangerous Dog

Published On: 19/08/2013

But what really bothers me is that Councillors are being asked to be judge, jury and executioner without the ability to question and cross-examine witnesses and experts.

Being so bothered, I raised the matter with the Minister’s office and I’d urge my fellow Councillors to note what Minister Don Page had to say:

He said that a Dangerous Dog Declaration is a “virtual death sentence for a dog and should only be used as a last resort”.

The Minister went on to say “that if a dog that isn’t dangerous is declared dangerous then surely the 1.8 x 1.8m prison cell they are confined to will “make them dangerous”.

In other words, it’s a one-way trip to hell for the animal and I repeat what the minister said, that a Dangerous Dog Declaration is a “virtual death sentence for a dog and should only be used as a last resort”.

Something Dr Seksel also echoed in his report on page 181.

The Minister then went onto say what he is proposing to cabinet as an interim step before a dog is declared dangerous. While this proposal is not public, I’m prepared to divulge the information if it helps Councillors make a better decision.

The Minister is proposing in certain circumstances, an interim step, before the “virtual death sentence” of a dangerous dog declaration. That step is of a “menacing dog declaration”.

It will spare the animal of the 1.8 x 1.8m prison cell and highlight the seriousness of the matter to the owner and give the dog a chance.

Some dogs are a menace, and some dogs will never kill or maim and the last resort of a “dangerous dog declaration” isn’t appropriate.

From what I can gather, Oscar has certainly been a “menacing dog” but he’s far from a “dangerous dog”.

Now let me turn to the briefing we received last week on Oscar.

In that briefing, not one mitigating factor was presented. None. Yet when I read the 84 pages on this item, there are plenty of mitigating factors, plenty of disputed facts and plenty of doubt as to whether Oscar is that last resort classification of “dangerous”.

So again, I went to the Ministers office. I was clearly told that Oscar should have an independent temperament assessment. And I was told that if that assessment is favourable, he should not be a classed a “dangerous dog”. And if he does something dangerous, after an independent temperament assessment, then Councillors personal assets are safe.

The panel of experts used in our papers do not appear to me to be truly independent and it appears that all they did was a “desk audit”.

I will be moving for an independent temperament assessment and perhaps we can have this done this week.

Edward Mandla
August 2013

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