• This topic has 7 replies, 5 voices, and was last updated 3 months ago by .
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  • #71581
    Cactus
    Flatchatter

      We (strata committee in 15-unit block in NSW) have an application from a resident to keep an American Staffy.  The dog had been on the property for a number of weeks before permission was requested; however, the owner promptly put in the request when they were told of the need to do so.  The applicant has their landlord’s permission and has indicated that they are willing to comply with whatever conditions can be designed to make it workable for ‘non-dog’ people in the building.

      My read of the legislation / regulation is that unless this is a restricted breed (which it is not), we cannot use the dog’s breed as grounds for refusing permission.  However, before even passing the request to the committee, the strata manager (SM) informed the applicant that the application would likely be refused as the dog is a dangerous breed.  The SM attached a newspaper article about the breed’s responsibility for four deaths.

      We now have a committee member with a strong belief that we can, and should, refuse permission due to the breed.  They have amassed pile of press articles and data about the breed’s danger, and as a result have developed an extreme fear of what will happen to them if they encounter the dog in the common area.

      The rest of the committee is reluctant to refuse permission based on the fears of one resident.  But it is a breed that provokes strong opinions.  Has anyone else come across breed specific concerns, and if so, how did they navigate them?  We’re planning to ask for assurances from the foster agency as to the temperament of this particular dog, and their suitability for our strata building, and then to emphasise the need for strict adherence to the conditions on keeping the dog on leash in the common area.   Is there anything else we could consider?

      • This topic was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by .
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    • #71588
      Sir Humphrey
      Strataguru

        A few years ago (and in the ACT, not NSW) when our OC was reviewing its rules on animals, there had been several Tribunal decisions that made it clear that you could not discriminate on breed or size. Some big dogs are well suited to apartments and some small dogs are not. Some individuals of any particular breed are aggressive and some are not – it depends more on training and temperament that can vary independently of breed.

        #71610
        Jimmy-T
        Keymaster

          I think you could and probably should make a case that the dog is inappropriate for apartment living as it could encounter other animals and children, as well as adults who may be anxious about the possibility of attacks. If you refuse permission on those grounds, the owners may challenge this at a tribunal, if they are so keen., but I can’t see how they would win.

          One thing in your favour, anyone who takes a potentially dangerous dog into an apartment block isn’t likely to be super-bright themselves. As someone once said of American Pitbulls – they are dangerous, stupid, aggressive and ugly – and that’s just the owners.

          The opinions offered in these Forum posts and replies are not intended to be taken as legal advice. Readers with serious issues should consult experienced strata lawyers.
          #71615
          Boronia
          Flatchatter

            Would some condition, that the dog must be muzzled at all times whist on common property, be a compromise?

            #71624
            Jimmy-T
            Keymaster

              Would some condition, that the dog must be muzzled at all times whist on common property, be a compromise?

              Yes, and the offer of such a compromise would probably get you past the ban on pet bans – and would surely be rejected by the dog owners.  I just worry about any cats that might stray into its zone.  Apparently it’s not illegal for a dog to attack a cat that is in the dog’s territory, but it is if the dog is in the cat’s area or on common property.

               

              The opinions offered in these Forum posts and replies are not intended to be taken as legal advice. Readers with serious issues should consult experienced strata lawyers.
              #71631
              Sir Humphrey
              Strataguru

                … My read of the legislation / regulation is that unless this is a restricted breed (which it is not), we cannot use the dog’s breed as grounds for refusing permission … They have amassed pile of press articles and data about the breed’s danger…

                If a refusal were to become a Tribunal matter, you might be better off with someone who can be called as an expert witness. My experience from a few Tribunal matters was that well reasoned argument by intelligent adults presented with evidence from credible sources was not weighted as highly as sworn testimony from a witness with  relevant expert credentials. I suspect that this is a general bias of the court system. It is as if relying on expert witnesses is a favoured cognitive short cut.

                So, if you have a vet, puppy trainer or some other sort of dog expert advise you that your situation is not suitable for that particular dog, this might stand up better than any amount of reasonable ‘doing one’s own research’.

                #71681
                kaindub
                Flatchatter

                  I think Cactus’ committee is still in the dinosaur age

                  There is nothing to suggest that the dog in question is vicious, apart from anecodotal evidence of the breed itself.

                  I would assume that the owners of this dog (despite Jimmy painting them as knuckle dragging idiots) have accepted the dog with all its faults.

                  And as has been established in animal cases in the near past, the fact that some other owner has a fear of animals does not make it a reason to deny another  person the right to have such an animal.

                  And its not reasonable to label all dog of a certain breed as vicious. For example Greyhounds have been rehoused after their racing days are over. they apparently make great house pets. Some greyhounds are required to wear a muzzle , but others have been assessed as not requiring one in public. It’s all to do with the particular animal.

                  The committee is able to put reasonable conditions on the keeping of the dog. One would be to insist that a muzzle is used on common areas.

                  As for the argument of killing cats – maybe the cat owner should take some responsibility for their cat if it roams. Cats , when they roam, kill native and introduced fauna. Is that any better than a dog attacking the cat?

                   

                  #71689
                  Jimmy-T
                  Keymaster

                    I would assume that the owners of this dog (despite Jimmy painting them as knuckle dragging idiots) have accepted the dog with all its faults.

                    I apologise for my lazy assumption that the dog or its owners were in some way defective. I had just been reading about how breeding and trade in Bully XL dogs (another variation of Staffy) has been banned in England, leading to them all shifting to Scotland where no such ban exists.

                    I also included a very positive review of AmStaffs (as they are known) in the introduction to the Forum roundup.  I guess what is needed here is an independent assessment of individual dogs in any potentially dangerous situations – such as, in a lift with a smaller dog.

                    I included my comments about cats to show that there is a lot of leeway afforded dogs by the law.  I think it’s a bit much to extend that to imply that wandering felines deserve whatever they get.

                    The opinions offered in these Forum posts and replies are not intended to be taken as legal advice. Readers with serious issues should consult experienced strata lawyers.
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