Directorate apologises to owner after blind dog euthanised

Directorate apologises to owner after blind dog euthanised

The director of city presentation at Transport Canberra and City Services has apologised to a Kambah man whose missing dog was euthanised without his knowledge.

Drago Gvozdanovic's 17-year-old dog, Izzy, went missing from his home on June 10. Less than 24 hours later, Izzy was dead.

Drago Gvozdanovic, pictured, and his dog, Izzy, that went missing but DAS forced a vet to euthanise it only 24 hours later, despite the policy being 7 days.

Drago Gvozdanovic, pictured, and his dog, Izzy, that went missing but DAS forced a vet to euthanise it only 24 hours later, despite the policy being 7 days.Credit:Dion Georgopoulos

Mr Gvozdanovic was told by a Canberra vet that Izzy had been brought into the clinic by Domestic Animal Services staff who ordered the vet to euthanise the dog.

The incident was raised during Assembly estimates on Wednesday,  where Minister for Transport and City Services Meegan Fitzharris and director of city presentations Stephen Alegria were grilled about the power a DAS ranger had to terminate a dog.


They were also asked about the correct protocol for when a ranger finds a dog.

DAS policy says impounded dogs are required to be held for seven days, after which time dogs are either re-homed, sold or euthanised.

Mr Gvozdanovic, who attended the hearing, said he was still searching for answers.

Ms Fitzharris said she had asked TCCS to work with an independent party to investigate the incident.

"My sympathy is with the owner who was present at the  estimates hearing today," Ms Fitzharris said.

"This will be investigated, seriously investigated so we can get to the bottom of what did happen."

ACT Opposition urban services minister Nicole Lawder said questions needed to be asked.

"It's a really tough job being a ranger, dealing with dangerous dogs, dealing with the heartbreak of owners, it's not an easy job," Ms Lawder said.

"But the incident with Izzy makes you question whether the rangers have had adequate training and support to fully carry out their job."

In a statement, a Transport Canberra City Services spokesman said Izzy was in "poor health".

"The dog appeared to be in poor health, its coat was highly matted and it was found to be deaf and blind, with both eyes ruptured and needing significant treatment," the statement said.

"Both DAS and the treating veterinary practice attempted to contact the owner via the details found on the microchip, however the recorded details were not current and after a number of attempts contact was unsuccessful."

The statement said that after speaking with the surgeon, the dog was euthanised.

However, the Canberra vet that notified Mr Gvozdanovic about Izzy said it "seems that somebody jumped the gun".

"Everybody has their own story if you talk to the client, the dog was perfectly healthy and never had a problem, but if you talk to DAS it was at death's door and need to be euthanised straight away," the vet said.

"The truth is somewhere in between.

"Yes it did have an eye problem, but it was a chronic problem. The animal certainly had some significant health issues but they were chronic and not urgent."

When asked who made the judgment that Izzy was in "poor health", the TCCS spokesman said he was unable to provide further comment as the matter was now under investigation.

Han Nguyen reports on property for The Canberra Times. She joined the Times in 2017 after working as a breaking news reporter at The Sydney Morning Herald.

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