By Cameron Lucadou-Wells
SPRINGVALE mechanic Vu Ho has vowed to fight on after losing a $150,000 Supreme Court fight to keep his pet sheep Baa at his workshop.
Mr Ho had taken Greater Dandenong Council to court over a $225 fine and order to evict Baa, who he regards as a ‘‘member of our family’’.
Mr Ho told the Weekly the aim was to quash local laws that forbid livestock on less than half a hectare.
‘‘My fight isn’t only for my animal but for the values of Australian society, for the love for animals and justice.’’
But Supreme Court judge Cameron Macaulay ruled the council had the power to make local laws concerning the keeping of animals.
The battle had cost Mr Ho $66,000 in legal fees, plus the prospect of Greater Dandenong Council’s $80,000 legal bill.
‘‘Perhaps the bills have increased even more by now. But it doesn’t matter how much it costs,’’ Mr Ho said.
In shades of The Castle, Mr Ho said he was prepared to appeal to the Supreme Court full bench.
If that was lost, he would take the matter to the High Court — if he could afford it.
When asked if he was prepared to risk his house, Mr Ho said: ‘‘Maybe half my house’’.
He said there had been ‘‘no compromise’’ from the council during a 14-month standoff.
Greater Dandenong’s chief executive John Bennie, in a statement, said the council was disappointed the matter was taken to the Supreme Court.
He said Mr Ho had ‘‘other legal options available to him if he wished to continue keeping a sheep in the way he does’’.
‘‘[The] council is, and always has been, happy to discuss these options directly with Mr Ho’’.
Mr Bennie said the council was pleased the Supreme Court ‘‘confirmed the integrity of [the council’s] local laws’’.
‘‘These laws are essential to the protection of public amenity and the good governance of local communities.’’
Mr Ho has kept Baa for 11 years on the site, keeping company with blind pet dog Chucky.
He regards Baa — who has a penchant for sweet chilli sauce — as more of a pet than livestock.
The sheep had been homesick and cried when moved away from its Springvale home, he said.
If the legal battles are lost, Mr Ho said he would reluctantly move Baa onto a friend’s farm.