Community Outcry Leads Mirvac to Prohibit Guard Dogs at Toombul Site

Toombul Shopping Centre

National developer Mirvac has prohibited the use of security dogs by a contractor at the Toombul shopping centre site, currently under demolition, following public outrage sparked by a viral photograph.

The decision came after a distressing image, shared by local resident Kelly Harris, depicted a visibly emaciated dog confined within a small cage. The incident occurred on Monday evening, June the 17th,  leading to substantial backlash from the community.


In her account, Ms Harris noted the presence of security personnel who appeared unresponsive to the distressed animal. This inaction prompted her to document and share the incident, which has since led to significant public and media reaction.

Ms Harris expressed her shock and distress upon witnessing the dog’s condition. The dog was unable to stand or shift position within the cage. The situation was exacerbated when the dog, in its agitation, partially forced open the cage door while still tethered to it.

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Toombul Shopping Centre
Photo Credit: Kelly Harris/Facebook

Earlier in the week, Mirvac justified the use of cages as necessary for the safe transport of security dogs, meant to be temporary only. However, facing intense scrutiny and media attention, the developer revised its stance. 

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By Thursday, Mirvac contacted the RSPCA to aid in any ensuing investigations and reassured the public of its commitment to animal welfare.

A Mirvac spokesperson expressed deep concern over the images and eyewitness accounts of the security dog’s treatment at their Toombul site. Mirvac has directed its main contractor and their security provider to immediately cease the use of security dogs. Additionally, they plan to enhance other security measures to maintain the site’s security legally.

The demolition of the Toombul shopping centre has attracted so-called urban explorers, posing additional security challenges. Mirvac anticipates the demolition to conclude by late this year or early 2025, highlighting the site’s dangers to trespassers due to structural instabilities.

Mirvac emphasised the importance of site safety and responsible animal handling. The company stated that their contractor’s security team uses canine units that are transported in cages for strictly short durations, in compliance with a rigorous animal welfare code. Mirvac assured that all practices concerning the welfare of working animals are upheld to the highest standards.

Published 23-June-2024