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Barriers to making amends

MARK Nugent says as soon he was told what his dogs had done, he wanted to do the right thing.

The owner of the dogs which savaged a pet pony in a paddock north of Parkhurst insists he told the council officers who seized the animals that he would pay for the harm they had caused.

“I told them that I would replace the pony if necessary, but the council wouldn't give me any details about where the attack took place,” Mr Nugent said.

Earlier this week The Morning Bulletin told how 86-year-old Bernie Schneider had paid a vet's bill of more than $1000 to treat the terrible wounds inflicted on his pony by the runaway dogs.

Bernie complained that, because of the Privacy Act, Rockhampton Regional Council constantly refused to tell him who owned the dogs. After three months he asked the Bully to help him find the owner and Mr Nugent came forward on the day the first story appeared.

Now it appears the same piece of legislation also frustrated Mr Nugent's attempts to apologise and pay up.

“When I was told what the dogs had done I felt really bad. I told the officers I would pay any bills, but they wouldn't tell me where the pony owner lived.

“It wasn't until I saw the story in The Bulletin that I discovered Mr Schneider's name and I tracked him down and went to see him straight away.”

Mr Nugent, who lives in the Olive Estate, said the dogs, which the council declared menacing, had been returned to him, but he had given them away to friends who have a rural property.

“They are working dogs, but I kept them as pets.

“They are not normally aggressive, but they must have freaked out when they saw the pony. I can only imagine that the pony ran away and they instinctively chased after her.”

The council yesterday issued the following statement to explain why it was unable to put the two men in touch, even though they live within a few kilometres of each other.

“The Privacy Act and its principles prevent council from sharing personal details of individuals – a person's name, address, and contact details are confidential information and the disclosure of this information would be illegal and in breach of the Act. The act is a State Government mandatory legislation, and is very clear in how personal information is handled.

“It is important to note that when dogs are declared menacing or dangerous they cannot be relocated to another area without approval from the appropriate authorities – to do so is actually in breach of the Animal Management Act. Council will be investigating this issue and until a resolution is reached, no further comment will be provided.”



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