A HAMERSLEY family has urged the City of Stirling to reconsider off-leash areas in parks after their family cat was violently mauled to death last month.
The parents, who have asked not to be named, are scared for their children’s and other’s lives after their pet cat Leo was fatally mauled by a dog last month.
The family had arrived home and were busy around the house when they heard a commotion over their fence, which is near the Rannoch Tay Earn Reserve.
A 13-year-old boy was the first to see their beloved family cat bleeding to death in the mouth of a dog, who was off the leash.
The family’s mother said the event had traumatised her children.
“The issue that we have is that it is being promoted as being a family-friendly park, but it is also promoted as a dog-friendly park and that just seems at ends,” she said.
“How can you have a dog-friendly park with two playgrounds there?”
The woman said she feared for the safety of her three-year-old dog and children, who are eight and 13.
“It’s not like we’re dog haters, we’re actually animal lovers, but we’re scared for the future,” she said.
There have been 434 dog attacks across the City of Stirling over the past three years, with one other attack recorded in 2008 at the Hamersley reserve. The City has 20,000 dogs registered with the rangers.
While the reserve is an off-leash area for dogs, under State law dog owners must maintain control of their dog at all times and must be on a leash when they are within five metres of a playground.
Community safety manager Laurie Crouch said the city was not planning to change the status of the park to an on-leash area.
“Dog walkers need to maintain control of their dog as a responsible dog owner,” he said.
“The bottom line is if you own a dog and it attacks, you are responsible.”
Community safety acting manager James Fisher said the city would be prosecuting the dog owner.
“The City takes responsible dog ownership very seriously and if you own a dog you need to have it under your effective control at all times whether that be on or off the lead,” he said.
“The City encourages responsible dog ownership which also includes desexing, microchipping, registering and vaccinating your pet.”
The maximum fine for a dog attack is $10,000.