Pressure is mounting on Bunnings to ban dogs other than assistance animals from their stores after a fatal incident inside a Brisbane outlet on the weekend.
An unrestrained dog attacked and killed a smaller animal that was sitting in a trolley at the Stafford store on Sunday afternoon.
Despite the smaller dog being rushed to an emergency vet, it could not be saved.
While Bunnings does allow dogs into stores, company policy stipulates the animals must be “friendly” and need to be secured safely in a vehicle or trolley, or on a lead and wearing a muzzle, or being carried.
Gina Gilmore was shopping in the store at the time and assisted staff in trying to fight off the bigger dog, said to be a “pit bull”, as it held the smaller animal by the neck and shook it repeatedly.
Ms Gilmore said the attack had been “brutal and graphic” and said it never should have happened.
“I’m all for businesses allowing pets if people follow the rules,” she said.
“I think in this case the pit bull owner let that dog down terribly. It was clearly vicious and should never have been in a public place, let alone Bunnings.”
Bunnings said they had been in touch with the owner of the deceased dog to “offer support,” but did not respond to specific questions as to whether they would consider changing the store policy in light of the incident.
The incident sparked outrage online, with thousands of social media users questioning why dogs, other than assistance or guide animals, are allowed in stores.
In a social media post from the Courier Mail, at least 3400 Facebook users said dogs should not be allowed in stores, while more than 2100 disagreed.
“Only guide and assistance dogs should be allowed into any shop, retail store or shopping centre anywhere. All other dogs should be left at home period,” Gail Kelly commented.
“Unless they are a help dog they should not be allowed in any store or market. Regardless of what the owner might say, sometimes things happen that upset the dog,” Irwin Carrier said.
“Why the bloody hell do people have to take their dogs with them everywhere they go. Surely they can go to the hardware (store) and leave it at home,” Jeff Campbell wrote.
Others have blamed the “irresponsible” owner of the bigger dog for ruining things for all pet owners.
“Bunnings is a fantastic place to socialize your dog and for many people, their dogs are their children. If people simply abide (sic) by the rules regarding having their dogs in Bunnings, none of this would have happened,” Izzy Willis wrote.
“If the dog was on a leash and muzzled as per company policy this wouldn’t have happened. Why should one gronk ruin it for so many others,” Zee Marincowits said.
“Surely owners have to be held accountable for their pets actions. If they can’t be controlled, don’t take them out in public,” Brett Simpson wrote.
Bunnings are working with Brisbane City Council, who were immediately made aware of the incident and have said they would work with the store to carry out the investigation.
“Pet owners must show responsibility, and we expect all owners to ensure their animal is under effective control at all times when in public and at home,” Councillor Kim Marx said.
“The State Government’s Animal Management Act outlines what action Council can take following an investigation into an incident.”