Roaming dogs have become an alarming issue in Forest Lake recently. The Brisbane City Council reports that the suburb is ranked third among suburbs with the highest incidence of unleashed dogs in the streets of Brisbane in 2016. The BCC issued a total of 74 fines to residents of Forest Lake in 2015/16. Inala received 82 fines, while Bracken Ridge is at the top of the list with 125 fines.

According to Charles Strunk, Labor Councillor of Forest Lake, among the “biggest complaints” from various residents was that a number of dogs were being walked off-leash, something that apparently becomes a problem when the dog “… sees something of interest – say a cat, bird or another dog.”

In January this year, Forest Lake resident Monica Miller was deeply heartbroken when her beloved 17-year-old cat, Marcus, was allegedly killed by a stray husky. She and her husband reportedly awoke at 4:00 a.m. and found two huskies barking at the front door. They gave them water and dog biscuits while waiting for the dog pound. According to Ms Miller, one of the huskies vomited animal innards and the biscuits that she gave. Alarmed, the couple then looked for their house cat. Sadly, they found Marcus already dead in the front yard.

The couple voiced their disappointment in other pet owners for not securing their dogs. They also expressed their concern and apprehension that people could be victimised, such as a child or an elderly person.

A spokeswoman from the city council said that reports of dog attacks are taken “very seriously” and investigations are conducted immediately. With the mandated fines for pet gripe, the council hopes that dog owners will become more responsible so that no further dog incidents might occur. According to Mr Strunk, the owners usually shape up once they are levied with fines for endangering public safety, which could reach up to hundreds of dollars. The concerned Forest Lake Labor councillor also plans to push for the establishment of more dog parks in the suburb.

Meanwhile, other suburbs with similar issues on a high number of roaming dogs include Woollongabba with 70 fines, Holland Park (56 fines), Aspley (50 fines), Acacia Ridge (48 fines), Moorooka (46 fines), and Stafford (44 fines). Chairman Matthew Bourke of the Lifestyle and Community Services explained that there are already 120 dedicated off-leash parks. Within these parks, dogs without a leash are safely allowed to mingle and roam, with clear rules for use.

Locals who find roaming dogs in the streets are encouraged by the Council to call 3403 8888 and make the appropriate report.

Photo Credit: Forest Lake Off-Leash Dog Park/Facebook