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A win in the Supreme Court Dog out on Bail

October 25th, 2005, 08:11 PM
Courier Mail
Edition 1 - First with the newsFRI 07 OCT 2005, Page 011
Council challenged on dog breed
By Michael Wray

DARYN Willis never imagined his dog's escape from his Woody Point house through the front window would end up in the Supreme Court of Queensland.
But next Friday, Rusty, breed unknown, will be the centre of a legal argument that could dismantle systems used to identify american pit bull terriers by councils throughout Queensland.
Rusty was found ``wandering at large'' by the Redcliffe City Council on September 15 this year.
Mr Willis said the council had identified Rusty as an american pit bull terrier, a breed banned by the council in 1999, and had to be put down.
However, Mr Willis said Rusty was an overgrown mastiff with a pink nose and not the breed known for vicious attacks.
The Queensland Government introduced a statewide framework for restricted dogs, including the american pit bull, in 2001, but it stopped short of a complete ban, leaving that power to individual councils.
Local Government Association of Queensland executive director Greg Hallam said that ``by and large'' most Queensland councils had implemented full bans, but their methods of testing often varied.
Councils have the power to seize and destroy banned dogs.
University of Queensland administrative law expert Donald Gifford said if the State Government had legislated what an american pit bull was, councils trying to define the breed would be acting beyond their powers.
``The definition should be in the Act. The council can't say what an american pit bull is because it's in the statute,'' Dr Gifford said.
``If all the Act says is it's a pit bull, they can regulate. The council still has a problem because its definition cannot be broader than what's in the Act.''
Although cases involving injuries caused by american pit bulls had been before the Supreme Court, it was believed this would be the first time the identification process had been questioned.
Redcliffe City Council chief executive officer Bob Holmes said Rusty was being contained in a secure dog kennel facility while legal proceedings started.
However, Mr Willis said his main aim was to get Rusty ``out on bail'' so his family could have him at home while the dispute was in court.
``My little girl, she's not the same, she's a very sad little girl. We're all very sad and they won't let us see the animal,'' he said.
An RSPCA spokesman said some councils had been ``very heavy-handed'' in their efforts to destroy the dogs, but he did not single any out.
He said many american pit bulls could be fine family pets and most of the vicious dogs were those bred for fighting.
Three american pit bulls were blamed for mauling a man on the NSW central coast last Tuesday.
Caption: PINING . . . Daryn Willis and Donita Smith and their children Zipphora, 12, and Jasinta, 3, want Rusty to come home. Picture: Derek Moore, IDENTITY crisis . . . Rusty has been classed as a vicious breed.

Courier Mail
Edition 1 - SAT 15 OCT 2005, Page 011
Rusty bailed after round one of dog fight
By Leanne Edmistone and Michael Wray

THE tears rolling down 12-year-old Zipphora's smiling face yesterday showed just how much it meant to the Willis-Smith family that their dog Rusty was coming home.
Two-year-old Rusty -- suspected by the Redcliffe City Council of being a banned American pit bull terrier -- was impounded last month after he escaped from the family's Woody Point home and was found ``wandering at large''.
The council told owner Daryn Willis the dog had to be put down.
Mr Willis maintains the dog is an overgrown mastiff-labrador cross.
Yesterday, the first chapter in a legal debate that could have ramifications across the state was played out in the Supreme Court of Queensland, where Justice Peter Dutney ordered Rusty be reunited with the Willis family.
It is the first time an animal has been released back to its owners pending court proceedings. Strict conditions include warning signs being displayed.
The review, set down for November 17, will examine the validity of systems used by 17 Queensland councils, including Redcliffe City, to identify American pit bull terriers which are considered a dangerous breed.
Barrister Steven Fynes-Clinton, for Mr Willis, told the court the council's identification system had been formulated without consultation with dog breeders, dog judges or animal geneticists.
Barrister Mark Hinson, SC, for Redcliffe City Council, opposed the return of the dog.
Outside court yesterday, Mr Willis and his partner Donita Smith said the fight was far from over, but their daughters Zipphora, 12, and Jasinta, 3, who had missed Rusty the most, would be overjoyed to have him home again.
``It's unbelievable (how much we love that dog), that's why we're here. He's been part of the family ever since the word go,'' Mr Willis said.
``He's a beautiful animal. Never hurt anyone in his life.
``He's not that sort of dog. He's a children's dog.''
Rusty was returned to the family's Woody Point home yesterday afternoon but had lost a lot of weight and had a bloody tail, Mr Willis said .
``He jumped out and Jasinta was all over him,'' he said.
``He just couldn't believe he was home. He knew exactly where he was when he got out.''

p.s The court case for the dog is scheduled for the 17th nov. Fingers crossed there is a second win and a precident is set. Blowing BSL out the door.

pit bulls have angel wings

November 1st, 2005, 06:09 PM
Latest update,

Council bid on hearing

OCTOBER 26: Redcliffe City Council will seek help from other South-East Queensland councils in its bid to defend the banning of a Woody Point family's dog.

Mayor Allan Sutherland made the call after the Brisbane Supreme Court ordered on October 14 that an alleged American pit bull terrier called ``Rusty'' be returned to its owner, Daryn Willis and his family until a final hearing on November 17.

Mr Willis sought a court review of the council's decision to impound the dog for 38 days after it was found wandering the streets.

At the heart of the council's action is whether Rusty is an American pit bull terrier, a banned breed in Redcliffe.

Council has maintained that under a 22-point plan devised by the State Government, and used by SEQROC councils, it would be classed as the outlawed breed.

But Mr Willis and his family say it is an overgrown mastiff-labrador cross, with ``a few things in him''.

``This is a test case and other councils will be monitoring this case very closely,'' Cr Sutherland said.

``We should talk to other councils and ask if they want to kick the can to support it (the court case).

Mr Willis said Rusty was ``just a big family dog with a pink nose''.

``Rusty has never hurt anybody and just got out and was wandering the street,'' Mr Willis said.
``I have three daughters, the youngest is three and they just worship him.''

The council's legal affairs manager Sean Fitzgerald told the October 10 meeting that he recommended the council defend the action vigorously ``unless I saw evidence that it is not a pit bull terrier''.

But he doubted the owner's evidence of claims that it was not an American pit bull.

``The costs are not insignificant but we prohibit certain breeds of dogs because there is significant public risk,'' he said.


November 2nd, 2005, 09:30 AM
I'm confused. Aren't both Mastiffs and Labs bigger (in the sense, taller) than APBT? So if this dog is an overgrown mix, wouldn't it stand to reason that it isn't a pit-bull??

Oh, wait. Reason...I'm guessing it's the lack of that which is even causing these idiots to keep pushing the BSL.

November 8th, 2005, 08:14 AM
Yep you are right but you can't tell the idiots over here that.


December 11th, 2005, 08:37 AM
Redcliffe & Bayside Herald
Edition 1 -WED 30 NOV 2005, Page 012
Family's Rusty to be saved

RUSTY the dog is at home in Woody Point after being saved from destruction.
Daryn Willis and Donita Smith have been able to keep their dog, which they say is a mastiff-labrador cross, after reaching an agreement with Redcliffe City Council.
Ms Smith had taken Supreme Court action to have the two-year-old family pet returned after it was held by the council for 38 days when found wandering the streets.
On October 14 the court ordered that the dog be returned to the family until the final hearing, which was to be on November 17.
While a council spokesman said the result was ``to the satisfaction of both parties'', Mr Willis felt vindicated in fighting for his dog.
He said the family dog, whose ``bark was bigger than his bite'', was a watch dog for his family and elderly neighbours.
The council originally took a strong stance against Mr Willis's claims that Rusty was not a banned American pit bull terrier.
A spokesman said the council would not change its dog identification procedures.
Mr Willis told the Herald he had been ``gagged'' by the settlement, but said ``the kids are happy and we are back to normal''.
The council had maintained that, under a commonly used identification plan, Rusty was classed as the outlawed breed.
Legal affairs manager Sean Fitzgerald had previously recommended that council defend the action ``unless I saw evidence that it is not a pit bull terrier''.