Dog owner’s surprise excuse for illegal $143 act on Queensland island
Twenty people have been fined since 2015 for bringing their dogs onto K'gari.
Queensland rangers are becoming increasingly frustrated as dog owners continue to illegally smuggle their pets into a protected World Heritage area.
While exceptions are made for certified support or assistance animals, all other domestic dogs have been banned on K’gari (Fraser Island) for almost 30 years.
But that didn’t prevent a pet owner stopped by rangers in late February from trying to avoid paying a minimum $143 fine by getting creative with their excuse. “The person who received the recent fine advised rangers that their animal was a ‘comfort dog’ which is not a category of animal permitted on the island,” Queensland ranger Linda Behrendorff revealed.
When certified dogs are brought onto K’gari, they are required to wear an identifying coat or harness with an approved badge and must be tethered on a lead at all times.
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Since 2015, rangers have issued 20 fines to dog owners breaking the rules. “This is not a recent change in legislation, and rangers are frustrated each time a person unlawfully brings a dog onto the island,” Ms Behrendorff said.
This year, many dog owners have managed to avoid a penalty by fleeing the island when approached by rangers. Images taken in the first months of 2023 and shared by the department of environment show at least five dogs illegally smuggled onto K’gari.
The rules were enacted to protect the island’s dingoes, known locally as wongari, as they are a protected population.
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“These bans were implemented to protect the wongari population from diseases and viruses, and also to protect domestic dogs from being attacked,” Ranger Behrendorff said.
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