Dog owner fined at off-leash beach after pup licked baby lying on blanket

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A Saturday afternoon romp at an off-leash beach in Port Melbourne, Australia for an energetic, fun-filled puppy play period, culminated with a rather hefty fine for a dog owner. Maudie, a seven-month-old English Staffordshire terrier, had been playfully jumping and running with a bunch of other active pooches for the final exercise of the day, when proper canine rules of behavior were called into question.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Neil McMahon had been at the beach with Maudie and watching the dogs happily interacting. There was a woman with a baby on the off-leash dog beach; the baby had been lying on a blanket in the sand. Maudie ran over to check things out – as puppies often do, and momentarily licked the baby – causing no harm and was immediately called away. That however, began the drama. The woman immediately reacted and called the police screaming, “A dog has attacked my baby.”

When the police arrived, they interviewed the woman and Neil; the questionable action and the fine that would result continues to baffle even the most conservative dog owners. And by now, you’re asking what was Maudie’s crime? It seems Neil failed to maintain “effective control” of his dog and was therefore fined $238. Consider the beach where the dogs romped is an off-leash area, but obviously dogs better learn to heed the rules. So pay attention to what “effective control” covers:

  • “Effective control” means a dog must return to their owner upon command. (100% of the time)
  • “Effective control” means an owner must “retain a clear and unobstructed view of the dog” at all times. (Don’t let your pooch get into the tall grasses while pursuing a stick)
  • “Effective control” means a dog “does not bother, attack, worry or interfere with other people or animals.” (Eliminate the obvious of “attack” but how does anyone define the “worry, bother or interfere” jargon?)

Neil’s dog had been in violation of the “worry” clause that lasted all of a few seconds, and the moment Maudie made her way over, she was called right back and so obeyed. Somehow she did succeed (bad doggy) in licking the baby’s chest for a second. The baby was not harmed; no doctors or first-aid were called, and although the child’s mother became excited, the baby didn’t react.

Perhaps question why a mother who is likely afraid of dogs would take her baby to an off-leash dog beach – surely there are beaches in the area where pets are prohibited? Some days we all have to question who makes these laws?

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(Photo via Neil McMahon from Sydney Morning Herald)


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14 replies
  1. Tracy Whitcomb says:

    WTF!!!! Are you kidding me???? This is absolutely ludacris!!!! I cannot believe that that lady thought that puppy was attacking her baby just because he licked her!!! Idiots!!

    Reply
  2. Adrienne says:

    A lot of money for a fine especially when the dog is in an area that is suppose to be for unleashed dogs. If the woman had given the owner a second to call his dog,which he did, there would have been no need to call the police and given the owner such a huge fine. A warning would have been enough. Didn’t she see dogs jumping around and playing? She had to be so near them instead of finding a better place to sit down on the beach. I am certain the area was clearly labeled for dogs unleashed to play. Hope the own tries to get the fine reduced. Mother needs to take back this complaint.

    Reply
  3. Nancy Raymond says:

    Since this was an off leash beach all the dogs were running free – this woman made a scene that was unnecessary and SHE should have had her baby protected – the man immediately retrieved his dog and I don’t think he should have been fined one cent. The child was not attacked – this mother needs to find another place to leave her kid on a blanket. Ridiculous!

    Reply
  4. Barkley's Mom says:

    If the woman is so worried about her baby being “attacked” by dogs then why is she on an off leash beach? This is ridiculous, and the reason I don’t frequent off leash parks or beaches with my dogs!

    Reply
    • Bunny Peters says:

      I agree with you!!!!! The Mom was in the wrong here. She should not have been in the “unleashed dogs” area if she was afraid of dogs…..

      Sometimes I think there ought to be “license requirements to have kids”…… some people have NO “common sense”….. my Dad always said “common sense is not so common”…..

      Reply
  5. Helen says:

    The woman with the baby is an idiot! Why bring your baby to an off leash beach if you don’t want to interact with dogs? This woman should have been fined for sheer stupidity.

    Reply
  6. Betty says:

    Why did she leave the baby my it self ??if she is freak out over a puppy kissing the baby
    Don’t go there anymore Stupid Lady

    Reply
  7. maxiemom says:

    Why was the stupid bitch at an off leash dog park in the first place if she didn’t want dogs around her brat? The stupid c**t (I don’t use that word, but here it’s warranted) needs to: get a life, grow a brain: and realize that she’s lucky the authorities didn’t do the right thing and take that kid away from her ignorant a**!

    Stay away from the dog park, jerk, and for heaven’s sake have enough sense not to teach that innocent child your ignorant dog phobia! A*****e!

    Reply
  8. Red says:

    Why wasn’t the idiot woman fined….if she is petrified of dogs….WHY PUT YOUR BABY ON A BEACH WHERE DOGS ARE ALLOWED TO PLAY FREELY!!!!! This fine is assine and should have gone to the woman!

    Reply
  9. susispot says:

    A total idiot. She should never have been on a beach for DOGS with her baby. Nothing happened, but any of many dogs could have chomped the kid. She should have been fined.

    Reply
  10. Laura Wojtowicz says:

    Why wasn’t the mother gined for making a false report???? Surely she had to look at the baby being alright…no bite marks, no blood no signs of evil!!! And why not give her for leaving her baby unattended?? Signs should be put up; only dog beach… kids including babies and dogs don’t mix, and if you are fearful of dogs, go away!! In other words, this was obviously staged, planned to create problems!!

    Reply
  11. sherry D. hadley says:

    The mother is a nut job ; what does she expect at an off leash beach. Talk about paranoid and a ridiculous overreaction. But why after the initial scare, did she not calm down and realize it was just a harmless puppy’s lick? Does she want to try to sue the puppy owner later? Sounds like a major asshole. If you are that afraid of the world, stay the hell home with your baby in a bubble.

    Reply
  12. Pamela Garlisch says:

    The woman should be sterilized and not be allowed to have any more kids, she doesn’t know how to take care of the one she has now! She’s a nut job!

    Reply

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