TAMWORTH father Ben Hudson was watching his children swim in the backyard pool when he finally realised the situation had become untenable.
Instead of being armed with towels or snacks, or even a camera to capture the special moment, the 35-year-old was cradling a metre-long solid steel bar.
For months, the Hudson family claims to have been driven closer and closer to despair by the aggression of their neighbour’s ferocious pig-hunting dogs.
Two pets – a weeks-old kitten that erred by wandering into the dogs’ territory, and a naive Chihuahua that was allegedly pulled through a gap in the fence – have fallen victim to one of the brutes.
But despite those heart-breaking losses, it is the thought of the massive dogs scaling the fence and attacking his children – aged seven, five and three – that keeps Mr Hudson up at night.
“We’ve basically got to stay prisoners in our own house. We’ve barely been able to go outside for two or three months,” he said.
“It’s not right that the kids have to spend their school holidays stuck inside because their parents are worried about the neighbour’s dog jumping the fence.”
Mr Hudson said one of the dogs, estimated to be about eight months old and already nudging 80kg, is gradually getting closer to scaling the 1.8m fence.
He has approached both the police and Tamworth Regional Council imploring them to act, but to no avail.
“I’m just waiting in fear for the day that it gets over,” he said.
“We don’t even have to go outside – if one of the kids pulls the curtains back, it runs up to the fence, frothing at the mouth.
“I don’t want it to be one of those tragic cases that could have been stopped where my wife or children are mauled. All we want is for the dogs to be caged during the day, so my kids can go outside.”
Council planning and community services director Jackie Kruger said the council had the authority to mandate for dogs to be caged if they were declared dangerous, menacing or were a restricted breed.
However, she said the council had concluded “the dogs of concern do not fall into those categories”.
“After two staff spoke with the complainant, a council ranger visited the neighbour’s property and confirmed the property is fully and adequately fenced,” she said.
“Council takes seriously all complaints it receives about dogs and investigates each matter, taking the particular circumstances of each complaint into consideration.
“In this case, it seems the matter would be best resolved by the collaboration of the two neighbours.”
Attempts to contact the dogs’ owner were unsuccessful.
* RESIDENTS who can’t resolve an issue with their neighbour’s pet are encouraged to contact their local council and make a formal complaint. Complainants are asked to provide the address of where the dog resides, a description of the animal, specifics of the complaint (such as aggressive behaviour) and your contact details.