Far North dog own­ers fined


A 100 per cent suc­cess rate in do­gre­lated prose­cu­tions is send­ing a clear mes­sage to dog own­ers, says the Far North Dis­trict Coun­cil.

Ear­lier this month the coun­cil’s An­i­mal Man­age­ment Unit pros­e­cuted two dog own­ers from Rus­sell and Kaitaia in sep­a­rate court hear­ings.

The Rus­sell owner of a husky­cross pleaded guilty to a charge of own­ing a dog that at­tacked pro­tected wildlife. He was con­victed and fined $500, plus court costs.

In May, the same owner pleaded guilty to three sep­a­rate charges of fail­ing to keep the dog un­der con­trol, and was con­victed and fined $130 on each charge.

FNDC com­pli­ance man­ager Dar­ren Ed­wards says he was pleased with the re­sult.

‘‘There had been a lot of me­dia in­ter­est and pub­lic spec­u­la­tion on so­cial me­dia about this case. At the time there was lit­tle we could say be­cause of the pend­ing court action .... this dog was well-known to an­i­mal man­age­ment staff.’’

With Rus­sell be­ing a high­den­sity kiwi en­vi­ron­ment, dogs must al­ways be kept un­der con­trol, Ed­wards says.

‘‘Un­for­tu­nately, this dog was not un­der con­trol in this sen­si­tive en­vi­ron­ment. This was proved be­yond any doubt by a video of the husky-cross wan­der­ing with a dead weka in her mouth.’’

De­spite a court or­der for her de­struc­tion, Ed­wards says he is keen for the dog to be re-homed. The owner’s pe­ti­tion to have the dog re­leased from the pound has re­ceived close to 30,000 sig­na­tures, and a Givealit­tle page had raised $735 for le­gal fees.

At the time, the owner told the North­ern News that he had seen the video of the dog, but it was im­pos­si­ble to tell ex­actly what was in her mouth.

The Kaitaia dog-owner was fined $500 and banned from own­ing dogs for five years fol­low­ing a De­cem­ber 2016 in­ci­dent where another dog was at­tacked. The owner was or­dered to pay $200 in dam­ages and $156 in repa­ra­tions. The coun­cil was awarded costs of $165 and or­dered to de­stroy the dog.

Dur­ing the same week, the coun­cil ran Nga Kuri Auau o Kaikohe, which saw 85 dogs mi­crochipped and 80 signed up for free de-sex­ing.

‘‘How­ever, the coun­cil must also send a clear mes­sage that dog own­ers who refuse to con­trol their an­i­mals will be pros­e­cuted.’’

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