Crazy good to go after SAT reprieve

Glenn Cordingley and Carly LadenBroome Advertiser
Crazy, the hero dog.
Camera IconCrazy, the hero dog. Credit: Shire of Broome

A hero dog impounded and declared dangerous in the North West for biting three men who were attacking his homeless master has won his freedom, and a decision that could have seen him destroyed has been set aside.

The pet pooch was released by co-owner Nadine Marie Bolger to protect her partner Jacob William Fellows who was speared, punched and continually whacked over the head with a bluetooth speaker by the trio wanting to run them out of Broome.

The couple had been living out of a shopping trolley and sleeping rough in town for several months and were sitting on a park bench in June when the men approached them.

One of them was brandishing a spear and another allegedly told them he did not want them living in his town before a brawl erupted.

Ms Bolger let the dog go from its collar and lead because she feared Mr Fellows “might be killed”.

A Shire of Broome ranger later seized the dog and declared it dangerous, meaning it would have to be muzzled in public and potentially placed on death row if it bit anyone again.

The couple successfully appealed the decision through a string of emails and mobile phone conversions to the State Administrative Tribunal, which resulted in a SAT hearing in Broome where both were deemed credible witnesses by the tribunal.

In her evidence, Ms Bolger said she watched the mongrel — known as The Dog or Crazy — bite a couple of the men before the fighting stopped and the police and an ambulance arrived.

She claimed a police officer threatened to shoot the dog if it came near him but the officer told the tribunal it was highly aggressive and foaming at the mouth when he arrived and he feared Ms Bolger would set it upon him.

The pair claimed they had been poorly received in the town and that their dog and themselves had been yelled at and threatened on numerous occasions.

Mr Fellows said the man holding the spear tried to harpoon him, and the weapon struck and cut his left ear which required stitches and triggered the three-on-one fight.

SAT member Natasha Owen-Conway said according to medical records, one attacker received superficial wounds to the left side of his neck and puncture wounds to his left arm, while another had deep lacerations to his left cheek, left forearm and superficial wounds to his face, arms and left trunk.

The remaining man was allegedly bitten on the hand.

Mr Fellows told the tribunal he believed he would have been killed if not for their dog.

The SAT found evidence given by the ranger to support a declaration decision notice that the dog had aggressive tendencies was “unsatisfactory”.

“The tribunal finds that (the ranger’s) evidence of the incident was very vague and when he gave oral evidence that vagueness was not dispelled,” Ms Owen-Conway stated in her ruling.

She said the tribunal was not satisfied the incidents on June 19 were attacks under the Dog Act especially when the animal behaved that way because it had been provoked by someone other than its owner.

“Mr Fellows did not and could not provoke the dog but the dog was provoked by a concern about an attack on him,” Ms Owen-Conway said.

“Ms Bolger in this proceeding was the person who was liable for the control of the dog at this relevant time and she did not provoke the dog.”

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