Successful prosecution in dog attack case

Publish Date : 17 Jul 2023
AC v Leeson

A Pukekohe man has recently been found guilty in the Pukekohe District Court of two charges of owning a dog that attacked a person/s contrary to s-57 of the Dog Control Act 1996.

This comes at a time when unwanted dog behaviour is on the rise in the Auckland region. Reported dog attacks on people have risen 22 per cent in the last year compared with 12 per cent in the previous year while aggressive behaviour towards people has risen 50 per cent.

Auckland Council’s Animal Management Manager Elly Waitoa says it is concerning to see the continuing rise in dog attacks despite the best efforts of her team to educate owners.

“Owning a dog comes with responsibilities and we would ask all dog owners to always keep their pets under control. That doesn’t only mean when in public; keeping children safe at home is equally important.

“The belief “my dog wouldn’t bite” no longer stands. All dogs have the potential to bite given the right circumstances, so we implore owners to be responsible.”

The first charge related to an attack on 2 December 2021 in which the first victim was attempting to deliver a parcel when the defendant’s Rottweiler Cross Mastiff bit the victim on her right leg.

The dog was released to the defendant on strict conditions, pending the outcome of prosecution, when it attacked again resulting in a second charge.

On 7 March 2022, the defendant’s dog ran across the road and attacked the second victim whilst she walked her baby in a pram. The second victim suffered bruising and scratches but did not require medical attention. The attack ended when a passing truck driver honked his horn to distract the dog.

The District Court imposed a fine of $750 for the first charge and $250 for the second charge.

Judge Large ordered financial reparation of $1,000 to the first victim and $500 to the second victim and imposed Court costs of $130 on each charge.  No order for destruction of the dog was required as the dog had already been relinquished and euthanised.

In giving his decision, Judge Large emphasised it was his duty to ensure the defendant was held responsible for their failure to be a responsible dog owner and that deterrence was required given the spate of dog attacks in Auckland recently, as evidenced by TVNZ’s Sunday’s programme on the subject.

“We are pleased with the outcome of this case,” says Waitoa.

“It reminds dog owners that if their dogs are not under control and do attack, we will prosecute and there are consequences. 

“We would of course prefer dog owners to be responsible and keep their families and communities safe.”

Find out more on responsible dog ownership here

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