Dog owner appeals menacing classification

Muzzling two dogs, impounded twice for chasing sheep, is a step too far, their owner says.

In January, the two dogs, a Staffordshire bull terrier cross and a German short-haired pointer, were found running at large among a flock of sheep, which included lambs, driving them into a corner of a paddock on a Chain Hills farm.

A Dunedin City Council animal control officer was sent and caught the dogs, which were taken to the city pound and later released to their owner, Mark Leonard.

It is not alleged the dogs attacked the sheep.

As it was not the first time a complaint had been made about the dogs roaming alone and chasing livestock, they have been since classified as menacing and require a muzzle any time they are in public.

Mr Leonard has appealed the classification and objects to their forced muzzling in public.

He admits they were at large and roaming but said the property owner told him the dogs were not worrying or menacing the sheep.

They were extremely socialised and well-adjusted dogs, he said.

Muzzling them in public would give a perception they were vicious in nature, which was not true.

It would also significantly restrict his ability to exercise and train them, as well reduce their abilities during duck and deer hunting.

Mr Leonard said he was aware if they were found roaming again they could be destroyed and he would ensure they were under strict supervision at all times to avoid that.

In her evidence, animal control officer Roslind McDonald said, in her professional opinion, the dogs were running as a pack and for that reason they should be classified as menacing.

''The dogs' previous history, when combined with the current complaint, shows that these dogs pose a real risk to livestock.''

After the first incident in March 2018, Mr Leonard was given an opportunity to contain the dogs, but it appeared no or inadequate measures had been put in place, Ms MacDonald said.

The appeal will be considered at a meeting of the council's bylaw subcommittee next week.

tim.miller@odt.co.nz

Comments

Leonard if he really cared anything for his 2 dogs, should be training them as pack dogs.
I myself had 3 dogs, all the same age, and they ran as a pack.
But I trained them, to be especially social around children and other dogs.
The few times they were around farm animals, I made sure, they were under control, as I heard stories of farmers, who shot dogs chasing their flocks of sheep.
Owner responsibility, and it reflects how well an owner actually has there dogs, under control.
Daily walks, let's off alot of energy and I found made my dogs not want to roam randomly.
If the dogs roam again, it really Leonards fault, for not putting the effort into his dogs. Strict supervision, whatever that maybe? I'm assuming they're tied up or put inside a house, doesn't come close to just a simple daily walk.

 

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