Geraldton home burglary a sign of the times

Adam PoulsenGeraldton Guardian
Tanya Radburn and Gavin Blair said their shed and car were ransacked after they were forced to remove 'dangerous dog' signs. They are pictured with their dogs Harley and Rose.
Camera IconTanya Radburn and Gavin Blair said their shed and car were ransacked after they were forced to remove 'dangerous dog' signs. They are pictured with their dogs Harley and Rose. Credit: Supplied

A Geraldton family say they are furious after they were threatened with a $5000 fine for displaying “dangerous dog” signs at their home.

Tanya Radburn and Gavin Blair used to own an American pit bull and were required by law to display the warning signs because the dog was deemed a dangerous breed.

When the animal died, they left the signs up as a deterrent to would-be intruders.

Ms Radburn said earlier this year a ranger knocked on her door and told her the signs, which were on the back fence and front gate, must be removed immediately.

“She said ‘you must remove those signs now or you’re going to get a $5000 fine’,” the 43-year-old said.

“So my partner instantly got the screwdriver and took the bloody signs down.”

Ms Radburn said several weeks later their shed was ransacked, their car broken into, and the front gate damaged by an intruder.

“We’ve lived here for nearly 10 years, and in that time we had those signs up we never had anyone in our yard or any burglaries,” Ms Radburn said.

“Obviously the signs do work.”

Ms Radburn and Mr Blair have four children aged between four and 17.

“It gives you the heebie-jeebies when someone’s been in your backyard, so close to where your children were sleeping,” she said.

“It could have all been prevented if we could have just kept our signs up.

“The signs weren’t going to bite anybody — I don’t see the harm.”

The family now have two new dogs and are again displaying the signs, with the words “dangerous dog” removed.

“It’s ridiculous to enforce what signage people can put up in their own private residences,” Ms Radburn said.

“We all pay our rates and you’d hope we’d have some control over our own safety.”

City of Greater Geraldton chief executive Ross McKim said anyone could display a “dog on premises” or “beware of the dog sign”.

“(But) it is an offence to have a ‘dangerous dog’ sign on a premises which resembles the official dangerous dog sign as described in the Dog Regulations, without actually having a dangerous dog,” he said.

The regulations state the penalty is $1000.

The regulations also require the animal’s owner to notify their local government when it dies.

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