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Savaged at home

Wednesday, 18th June, 2014

Danielle Smith and Michael Tregear at the spot where a savage dog dug into their yard and killed their Kelpie. Inset: Fifteen-month-old Kelpie “Gavin”. Danielle Smith and Michael Tregear at the spot where a savage dog dug into their yard and killed their Kelpie. Inset: Fifteen-month-old Kelpie “Gavin”.

By Erica Visser

When Danielle Smith came home from work on Thursday evening last week she was confronted with something so unexpected and horrible that she didn’t sleep for three nights.

Danielle’s beloved 15-month-old Kelpie, Gavin, had been savaged to death by a American Staffy Bull Mastiff crossbreed in her backyard in the four hours she’d been gone.

The killer dog, which belonged to the next door neighbour, had dug a one-metre-deep hole under the fence.

Danielle, whose partner Michael Tregear was out of town when the attack occurred, was left traumatised.

“When I left for work at 1pm he was happy and healthy,” she told the BDT.

“I got home at half past six to not a very pleasant sight.

“Gavin was a beautiful Kelpie who played with everyone that crossed his path, from children, to adults, to other dogs.”

Gavin was a regular at dog school and was in training to become a companion animal at local nursing homes.

“He was a very well-loved member of the family for us. I made sure he had all the top shelf toys, food and training,” Danielle said.

Danielle and Michael, who recently moved to the city from Melbourne, are outraged by the attack.

“This has happened before. She’s not a responsible dog owner,” Michael said.

“Council keeps saying we don’t have a dog problem but when was the last time you have gone for a drive and haven’t seen a stray dog?

“There’s no accountability, there’s no compensation for us and there’s really been a lack of support.

“Our dog was safely confined in our backyard. The penalty on irresponsible dog owners is not enough.”

For now, the hole beneath Danielle and Michael’s side fence has been barricaded with firewood. 

Council said it was investigating the attack which was referred to it by police. 

The BDT understands that the dog has since been destroyed.

However, the couple is still worried because another dog of the same breed is still living next door.

“What if Danielle goes out the back to get firewood and I’m not here?,” said Michael. “I wouldn’t be surprised if it did it again.”

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