The plight of a homeless woman who had her dog impounded for a sixth time has tugged at the heart-strings of the Illawarra community this week.
Ms Lawrence and her sole companion live in the sand-dunes at Wollongong Beach, but Lou-Lou was picked up for a sixth time by Wollongong City Council rangers for not wearing a lead.
Earlier in the week she pleaded for them to give her a break and “pick on somebody else”.
The pensioner, who wished not to be named, went to the RSPCA Unanderra in person to pay Ms Lawrence’s fine because he “just wanted to see her happy again”.
“If he’s single I’d marry him … he has a good heart for animals like I do,” Ms Lawrence said after learning of the news.
While Lou-Lou is desexed and microchipped a council spokeswoman said she had been declared a “nuisance dog” for not being on a lead.
“We encourage everyone to keep their dogs on a lead at all times when in public places,” she said.
“This is for the safety of the animal and the community members around them. It’s also a requirement of the State Government’s Companion Animals Act 1998 that dog owners keep their dogs under effective control in public spaces.”
The story brought a lot of compassion from Mercury readers via social media with many agreeing the situation was “heartbreaking” and “cruel”.
Meantime Wollongong councillor Bede Crasnich has accused council rangers of overstepping the mark and said he is inundated with complaints about them.
“You give these people a hi-vis vest and a clipboard and the power rushes directly to their head … it’s not what they’re doing it’s the way they’re doing it,” Mr Crasnich said.
“I’ll be calling the general manager [on Friday], I want answers.”
Lou-Lou now has a new blue leash and matching collar so hopefully she won’t be picked up again.