The City of Cockburn's responses to Fremantle Herald 18, 24 & 25 August 2021 about a dog attack on Holly the greyhound
Question: The media statement released by the City on 23 March states that the attacking dog had not been involved in any prior attacks, but the Herald has attained documents that show that the ranger who took the initial report on 14 March was aware of the attack by the same dog on a kelpie a few weeks prior to the attack on Holly, and noted it in the report. Can you please explain the discrepancy between the ranger's notes and the response from the city?
Answer: The City became aware of the prior attack as events were unfolding and this new information was made public by the City, to correct that error.
It was detailed in media responses to 6PR and 10 News on 24 March, and then published on the Responses to Media section of the City’s website on 25 March.
It was detailed a second time on the Responses to Media section of the City’s website again the following day, on 26 March, in response to media queries from 6PR, Nine News and 10 News on the same day.
Question: No information on this initial report has been addressed by the City of Cockburn media team. Can you please help me understand how the city had no knowledge of the prior attack on 23 March, when it was reported to the city by the ranger on the 14th?
Answer: Your statement “No information on this initial report has been addressed by the City of Cockburn media team” is incorrect.
As was outlined in our previous email, after making an initial erroneous statement on 23 March, the City made multiple subsequent statements correcting its mistake and acknowledging the initial dog attack.
he City’s statement on 23 March was incorrect. The City acknowledged and corrected this mistake on 24, 25 & 26 March, both on the City’s website and in individual responses to multiple media organisations.
The City did have knowledge of the prior attack, and has never said otherwise. Unfortunately, the City’s media team was not aware of the attack details when responding to the initial media query on this point. Further investigation of City records over the following day revealed the erroneous information, and the City’s media team made the correction as quickly as possible.
We would also have preferred that you include the City’s previous response provided on 18 August, in the article ‘Holly’s memory put to rest’, published in the Herald on 21.8.21. You have not included any response at all from the City, despite the fact that we did provide one.
The article contains opinions which impute that the attack on Holly could have been prevented by the City. This is incorrect. The offending dog’s initial attack on the kelpie did not result in it being named a ‘dangerous dog’ which may perhaps have gone some way to providing the community with further protection.
The City deals with many reports of dog attack, and not all attacking dogs are named dangerous dogs, as was the case in this instance.
It would be unreasonable for the City to declare every dog involved in a dog attack ‘dangerous’, just because it has been involved in a dog attack.
It is also virtually impossible to accurately predict if a dog will be involved in subsequent attacks.
Question: What I have not received an answer to is how the media team did not know about the attack if the ranger team did.
Answer: The officer who provided the information to the media team originally missed checking one of several internal information sources. As soon as this mistake was realised the following day, it was immediately corrected.