A pet owner was fined $238 after his dog licked a stranger’s baby at an off-leash dog beach in Australia.
The dog, a seven-month-old Staffordshire Terrier named Maudie was out on her usual evening stroll with her human handler, Neil McMahon, when she ran over to the child, snuck a quick kiss, and ran back to him immediately upon being called.
Although no harm was done, the baby’s mother was upset by the encounter, so much that she called local police and accused Maudie of attacking her baby. McMahon was then hit with a $238 fine for failing to maintain “effective control” of his dog.
McMcMahon penned an opinion piece in the Illawarra Mercury describing what happened.
“‘Effective control’ is defined as follows. It means your dog will return to you upon command,” he writes. “But here’s the kicker that got me in trouble: ‘effective control’ means your dog ‘does not bother, attack, worry, or interfere with other people or animals.'”
Because McMahon was technically at fault, according to the wording of the law, it is likely he will have to pay the fine, however unfair it may seem.
While McMahon is hoping that Australian authorities will reconsider the wording used to keep off-leash dog parks under control, he also encourages parents to keep their young and small children away from off-leash running areas and stick to other areas of parks and public spaces.
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