Bruce the dog back home after big court victory
IT WAS the emotional reunion which Kev and Chris Thomas feared would never happen.
After months with their dog Bruce locked up at the pound, the couple were finally able to bring him home last Friday after winning their case to have a destruction order overturned in the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal appeals division.
Bruce had been sentenced to death last year by the Ipswich City Council following an attack on a meter reader last August.
The meter reader had ignored the numerous signs which the Thomas's had erected on their Denmark Hill property to notify the community and visitors that a dangerous dog lived with them.
Not wanting to lose their much-loved family pet, Mr and Mrs Thomas hired a lawyer to fight the charges and to spare their dog's life.
"I took the original phone call from the council and I just remember the words were 'we've got a destruction order in place and we intend to carry through with it'," Mr Thomas said.
"I felt like the investigation was only down that course.
"We engaged a lawyer about that then because council is a big organisation with a lot of money and we're just residents."
The case first went to court in November but only weeks later the result came in that they had lost their case.
Not deterred, the couple executed their right to appeal and returned back to the courtroom in May.
After eight weeks, Mr Thomas said they received the good news from their solicitor that Bruce could come home.
"We couldn't believe it. We were just over the moon," Mr Thomas said.
"We couldn't wait to get down there. It wasn't long before closing time, so we just raced to get him."
Couper Geysen Family and Animal Law paralegal Tracey Jackson said the court had ruled in favour of her clients due to what she called "very unusual facts".
"The court decided it was a very unusual set of facts because Bruce was in his enclosure and the meter reader had in fact walked past a number of dangerous dog signs and ignored previous instructions from the owner," she said.
Council's Health and Regulation Committee chairman Councillor Andrew Antoniolli said he was shocked by the court's ruling.
"The only thing I can really say is that I am quite surprised with the ruling which seems to be based on a technicality," Cr Antoniolli said.
"Therefore we will be assessing our legal options."
Now that he is home, Bruce has a new enclosure which can only be accessed by entering the house.