A homeowner’s security cameras have captured the moment a Queensland council worker allegedly lured their cat out of their driveway before issuing them with a $280 fine for allowing their animal to roam.
The bizarre scenes occurred in Westbrook, a rural town in the Toowoomba region, and show a Toowoomba Regional Council worker in hi-vis uniform approaching the driveway of Julie and Steven Stephens.
With a clipboard under her left arm, the worker can be seen standing at the top of the driveway while seemingly attempting to get the attention of two cats off camera.
Stepping further back towards the road, the worker lets one of the cats follow her until they’re level with the footpath.
She then scoops up the cat and turns to walk to her vehicle parked across the road.
Speaking with the Toowoomba Chronicle, Mr Stephens said he watched the incident unfold on his camera and rushed to stop his cat from being impounded.
He was able to get his cat back but was handed a $280 fine for the ‘roaming’ animal.
Mr Stephens said the incident was one of many run-ins with council over their pets – which include eight dachshunds and at least two cats.
Before the worker left, she promised Mr Stephens she would be returning and taking some of his animals.
“She said she would be back in two weeks with the police to take all but two of our dogs,” Mr Stephens said.
He acknowledged they had “too many dogs” – six more than local laws allow – but said his wife has grown dependent on them after she was in a serious car crash.
“A few years ago she had a severe car accident, her partner at the time died, she has a metal plate in her head and now has severe depression and anxiety.
“The dogs help with her anxiety.”
The family is so shaken by the event that they’re now looking to sell their home for a larger parcel of land in the bush.
“It might seem strange to you or I but she needs those animals,” Mr Stephens said.
Toowoomba Regional Council told the Chronicle they would review the worker’s body worn camera.
“By law, no cat or dog is allowed to roam and residents need to confine their pets to their property at all times,” CEO Brian Pidgeon told the paper.
“In accordance with Section 113 of the Animal Management (Cats and Dogs) Act 2008, an authorised person may enter a place to monitor compliance with the requirements of Section 14 (Owner must ensure cat or dog is implanted) and Section 44 (Registration obligation).
“Council employees must also comply with all applicable requirements within this Act, the Local Government Act 2009 and Council’s Code of Conduct.
"Toowoomba Regional Council has begun an internal investigation on the relevant circumstances relating to this matter and cannot pre-empt an outcome.”
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