Owners appeal against seizing of 'attack' dog

BREED: The St Bernard breed is known for rescuing travellers. Photo: Jeffrey Chan, Fairfax
BREED: The St Bernard breed is known for rescuing travellers. Photo: Jeffrey Chan, Fairfax

A legal drama is being played out in the wake of a dog attack on a Jamestown veterinary surgeon.

COMPANION: St Bernard dogs were companions to the monks in the European Alps. Photo: Michael Rayner, Fairfax

COMPANION: St Bernard dogs were companions to the monks in the European Alps. Photo: Michael Rayner, Fairfax

The attack happened in late January at the clinic of Dr Geoff Warren.

Dr Warren was severely hurt when a St Bernard dog that he was treating went out of control.

The dog was seized by Northern Areas Council under the Dog and Cat Management Act.

But the animal’s owners, who live in the Mid North, have appealed against the decision.

This submission will now be heard in the District Court in Adelaide.

The dog is in an Animal Welfare League shelter in Adelaide. Dr Warren and the owners declined to comment. 

St Bernard is a breed of working dog from the western Alps of Europe. They were originally bred for rescue at the Great St Bernard Pass on the Italian-Swiss border. Two hospices were built and run by the same monk brotherhood. The breed has become famous through tales of alpine rescues.

There was a St Bernard dog attack in Melbourne in the 1940s.

Actor Claude Flemming, using a chair, fought off a 13-stone St Bernard that had gone beserk and bitten his wife on the head.

Mrs Flemming had 23 stitches in her scalp and was admitted to hospital.

Flemming and his wife were sitting on a porch at a friend's home at Kew when the dog suddenly leapt at his wife. The animal had been docile before the attack.

Several other incidents have been reported of St Bernards – usually cross-breeds - being involved in attacks. 

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