Owner to euthanise dogs that killed others in November attacks
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Owner to euthanise dogs that killed others in November attacks

Two dogs that escaped their backyard and killed other dogs will be euthanised after their owner was refused a dangerous dogs licence.

Twice in November, Ruby and Max escaped their Dunlop property.

Isabelle Goldstraw took photos of the two Staffordshire bull terriers before the attack, intending to post them on the Canberra Lost Pets Facebook page.

Isabelle Goldstraw took photos of the two Staffordshire bull terriers before the attack, intending to post them on the Canberra Lost Pets Facebook page.

The Staffordshire bull terriers tore through Brenda Goldstraw and Jodie Sutton's screen door, biting the hand of 20-year-old daughter Isabelle before taking off with and mauling chihuahua Jiminy.

The day before, the dogs had attacked Amanda and Tony Mitchener's dog Saphie in the couple's backyard. A neighbour's 12-year-old daughter discovered the pet's remains.

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Isabelle Goldstraw with her dog Flea. The two Staffordshire bull terriers killed her other pet Chihuahua in her living room and left her with an injured finger.

Isabelle Goldstraw with her dog Flea. The two Staffordshire bull terriers killed her other pet Chihuahua in her living room and left her with an injured finger. Credit:Jay Cronan

On reading media reports about the attacks, the dogs' owner handed the pair to authorities, and the dogs were declared dangerous.

But in December, the pair came back to live with their owner after he applied for a licence to keep dangerous dogs.

Jiminy and Saphie's owners, fearing the bull terriers living nearby, challenged that licence, and this month the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal decided in their favour.

They had argued the dogs' enclosure was not secure, not "escape proof", and neither adequate nor appropriate to house the dogs.

The Mitchener family's dog, Saphie, was killed by the two Staffordshire bull terriers.

The Mitchener family's dog, Saphie, was killed by the two Staffordshire bull terriers.

The tribunal accepted that while the property was suitable, the enclosure – a roofed, wire mesh structure – it was not secure.

And although the owner had since installed video cameras, the tribunal said they would be little assistance if the dogs were to escape.

It also could not be confident the dogs wouldn't harm another person.

"Whilst acknowledging the terrible outcome [of the attacks] ... the Tribunal accepts that Ruby and Max are cherished pets," senior member Wilhelmena Corby wrote.

"Their actions ... were the actions of dogs.

"The Tribunal attributes no malice or sinister intent to those actions.

"However, the circumstances of those events are such that the Tribunal, after considering the current state of the premises, the evidence and from the perspective of community safety, has come to this sad conclusion."

Alexandra Back is a reporter with The Canberra Times

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