Coco was seized on 23 August 2013, along with a male dog, Brutus, and their 9 puppies then aged 2 weeks’ old. Coco and Brutus were declared to be restricted breed dogs. The puppies were not declared.
Following intervention by the Panel and Dogs on Trial, on 13 January 2014 the Council agreed to release the puppies who were then aged about 5 months. All puppies have since found homes.
With the assistance of the Panel and Dogs on Trial, the owner of Coco and Brutus challenged the restricted breed declarations in VCAT. The hearing commenced on 15 April 2014.
However, on 10 April 2014, the Hume City Council conceded that under the new standard for restricted breed dogs that took effect on 31 January 2014, Coco is not a restricted breed dog. Accordingly, at the commencement of the hearing on 15 April 2014, VCAT Deputy President Judge Harbison ordered that the Hume City Council release Coco. Coco has since been reunited with her owner.
The challenge to Brutus’ declaration is ongoing.
The Panel extends its sincere thanks to Panel counsel Simone Bailey and her instructing solicitor, Alysha Tuziak of Panel law firm TurksLegal Melbourne, along with dog judge Colin Muir and veterinarian, Dr Adrian Choi.