Dog owner fined after argument

A MAN has been found guilty of wilful obstruction of an authorised officer, following the discovery of four restricted dogs that he said were dead.

Andrew Richards, of South Grafton, was fined $300 at the Maclean Local Court on Tuesday and ordered to pay $2000 professional costs and $73 court fees.

An impounding officer for the Clarence Valley Council, Jon Hallam, gave evidence five weeks ago on a battle he'd been involved with for about two years.

On initial inspection of Mr Richards property two years ago, Mr Hallam alleges 19 restricted breed dogs were found. Restricted breeds of dogs in Australia include the Jap toza, American pitbull, dogo argentino and fila basilerio or crossbreeds of any of these.

“I was of the opinion that the dogs were crossbreeds of restricted breed dogs and I served to Mr Richards an intention to declare a restricted dog order at this time,” Mr Hallam said.

Once this order has been served, an owner must have their dog's breed assessed, which involves identification and microchipping, both of which Mr Richards failed to do.

If a dog is not breed assessed they are automatically declared a restricted breed. Owners are ordered to comply with stringent laws if they are to be kept, including child-proof dog enclosures, desexing within 28 days, dangerous dog signs and muzzling outside of enclosures.

When Mr Richards failed to comply with the legislation, the RSPCA, police and council building inspectors went to Mr Richards property and were told by him that all the dogs were dead.

Four of the dogs were later found on a nearby property and it was on this finding that Mr Hallam issued Mr Richards with an on-the-spot penalty, and the complaint was heard at Tuesday's court hearing.

Mr Richards says that he made every attempt to have the dogs' breed assessed and was discriminated against because he is the President of the Qld Pitbull Rescue Association.

Mr Richards said he may lodge an appeal.

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