A heartbroken couple is fighting to keep their beloved dog alive after a local council said they would put him down for nipping their pest neighbour.
Ellie and her partner recently bought their first home together on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, moving in with their two black German Shepherds.
Sunshine Coast Council had designated three-year-old Bear as a ‘threatening dog’ in 2019, but Ellie said he never had an incident until their neighbor came banging on their door over a car park dispute.
They now face having their adored companion put down and said they’ve seen no compassion from local authorities when they’ve offered to introduce stricter measures on Bear.
‘It’s just so hard to see him in the pound. We’d happily put a muzzle on him, but the first instinct from them was to kill him,’ Ellie told Daily Mail Australia.
‘It feels like we can’t win.’
Bear (pictured right with companion Summer left), a three-year-old German Shepherd, faces being killed by Sunshine Coast Council after a complaint from a nuisance neighbor
Ellie adopted Bear and another German Shepherd named Summer when they were puppies, with Bear always having a penchant for escaping.
‘He used to get outside a bit when he was a puppy, because he’s big and black, a lot of people were scared of him,’ she said.
‘But he’s such a sweet dog.’
The Sunshine Coast resident said they’d had problems with their neighbors for the eight months they have lived at the house, with a woman constantly complaining about minor things, including where they park their cars.
On the day of the incident, the woman from next door had been banging on their front door for more than 15 minutes before Ellie’s roommate came outside to confront her.
‘They’re always coming over and complaining. My roommate parked her car on the nature strip between our house and theirs. She came over to complain about where she was parked, which was legal. It wasn’t on her driveway,’ Bear’s owner told Daily Mail Australia.
‘She’s banging on the door, my housemate didn’t realize no one was home to speak to her while she was in the shower. So she came out 15 minutes later and she was still banging on our door.’
Ellie and her partner are heartbroken over the destruction notice given by Sunshine Coast Council, saying they just want their beloved dog home
Ellie said her roommate then went and opened the door, with a distressed Bear running out into their front yard, where the woman started screaming at him.
‘He’s jumped up and scratched her arm and nipped it. The nip wasn’t bad but the scratches were fairly deep,’ she said.
‘Then the pound just came and took him. He’s never bitten anyone before, he’s never been aggressive, he’s just protective of us. When someone’s banging on a door for 15 minutes, you’re going to scare dogs.’
Sunshine Coast Council returned the next day and took their other dog, Summer, but eventually released her after deciding she wasn’t involved. Unfortunately, they received the destruction notice for Bear not long after.
Bear has been sitting in the pounds for weeks, so distressed he’s torn two claws off his paw
He has been sitting in a local pound for more than two weeks now. Ellie and her partner de ella have not been allowed physical meetings, have only been able to see him through a cage as he hysterically claws to be reunited with them.
His owner said two of his nails have been ripped off due to distress, but pound workers alleged it was a previous injury that occurred before he arrived.
Ellie said she feels ‘really bad’ for the woman but says she knew there were dogs in her house and should have known how they’d react to her behaviour.
‘She was on our property, if an intruder came into the house I’m sure we wouldn’t be in this situation,’ she said.
The neighbor has since posted Ellie’s address on social media, warning people not to walk past their home and spoken to the other neighbors on the street to turn people against them.
They said they’re willing to do anything they can to have Bear come home, whether it means increasing security fences, making him wear a muzzle and locking him in a cage at night.
‘We just want him to come home,’ Ellie told Daily Mail Australia.
Ellie said Bear isn’t coping with being caged inside the pound as he’s a dog that loves the outdoors. She wants to reunite him with their family
In a statement to Daily Mail Australia, a spokesperson for Sunshine Coast Council said there had been a ‘number of incidents’ involving Bear since he was declared a ‘threatening dog’ in 2019.
They also alleged Ellie and her partner had ‘not managed Bear in accordance with the requirements for a regulated dog’. Ellie said they have ‘complied with everything they have asked if not more’.
‘The most recent incident resulted in serious injuries to a person. The dog owner will continue to have access for visits provided it is safe for the owner and the staff,’ a council spokesperson said.
‘Council takes the management of regulated dogs very seriously. The legislation allows dog owners to keep a dog which has been identified as dangerous or threatening, provided they adhere to strict conditions.
‘Community safety is a priority. Where it becomes evident that these conditions are not sufficient to protect the community and their pets, and only once investigations are finalized, council is left with no choice but to issue a notice requiring the euthanasia of the dog.’
The council said Ellie may request the destruction notice be reviewed by the Council and the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal, but Ellie said she’s been quoted $20,000 for legal fees.
‘I don’t want my dog locked in a cage for months on end suffering either. We will continue to fight this,’ Ellie said.