Little Lucy’s legacy a rule change at shelter

A LOCAL animal shelter has changed its adoption rules in the wake of a deadly attack on a small dog.

Kimba, a mastiff-cross from Heaven Can Wait animal shelter, attacked Maltese/Jack 

Russell-cross  Lucy on February 26 in a Hillvue park.

Lucy’s owner, Dianne Walmsley, said she was powerless to do anything to stop the attack.

“I’ve had this little dog for 10 years,” she said.

“To just see her being ripped apart was devastating. I couldn’t do a thing, but the vet said if I had intervened, I would have been attacked, too.”

Mrs Walmsley said Kimba was not on a lead, while Lucy was on a long lead and harness.

“The dog just came at us,” she said.

Mrs Walmsley said the only blessing was she didn’t have her grandchildren with her and that maybe Lucy had saved a small child from being attacked instead.

“Had that been my little four-year-old grandson, he would not have had a hope in hell,” Mrs Walmsley said.

Heaven Can Wait founder Kate Davies said Kimba was part of their pound dog walking program and they took her into care on December 23 and she went into foster care.

“She was fostered with people who had big dogs and puppies, small dogs, birds and an 18-month-old child,” she said.

“They took her to the country music (festival), stopped and watched bands, walked through crowds, kids were coming up to them and not one of the dogs showed any aggression or fear at all.”

Ms Davies said Kimba had not shown any of this behaviour during her time in care but had subsequently been euthanased after the incident.

“We try to socialise them in as many different areas as we can,” Ms Davies said.

“There could have been 100 different reasons why it happened, but when these sorts of things happen, a big dog is always going to win the fight.”

Ms Davies said this prompted an adoption rule change and now the owner of any large dog adopted from the shelter must attend a consultation with behaviourist Peter Bainbridge.

This has to happen within the two-week trial period or the shelter will take the dog back into their care.

“We want people to know as much as they can about a dog’s natural instincts and behaviours,” Ms Davies said.

She said the adoption agreement would also state that dogs have to be on a lead in any public place.

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