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A domestic argument that "turned into a fiasco" with a man encouraging his pitbulls to attack police officers, resulted in the destruction of two of the dogs, the disappearance of a third and a sentence of community work for the owner.
Jayden Allen Lombardi (19), unemployed, had denied using the dogs as weapons against Constables Amy Stewart and Ross Harris, resisting the officers, and the offence that brought the police to his home in the first place: intimidating his partner on March 17.
In the Dunedin District Court yesterday, public defender Andrew Dawson said Lombardi wished to plead guilty after an indication from Judge Bridget Mackintosh that she would not send him to jail.
On each charge, Lombardi was sentenced to concurrent terms of 180 hours' community work, with an extra 60 hours in place of $3507 of fines which are to be remitted.
The summary from prosecutor Sergeant Graeme Evans said the incident began with a disagreement between Lombardi and his partner, Charlie-Joy Beattie-Creed, about who should pick up dog excrement from the kitchen floor.
Ms Beattie-Creed refused and Lombardi became aggressive and picked up the faeces in his bare hands. He walked towards his partner who ran away, chased by the defendant.
When she returned to the house a short time later, she locked him out and he smashed a window to get back in. Ms Beattie-Creed fled from the house and concerned neighbours called the police.
Constables Stewart and Harris arrived and saw Lombardi asleep on his bed, with fresh blood coming from a wound to his hand. They asked him to come outside, and a large pitbull, named Killer, jumped through the open window and ran from the property.
Lombardi was immediately confrontational and uncooperative. He abused the officers and refused to secure two smaller dogs which had come into the bedroom.
Things then "turned to custard", Judge Mackintosh said.
The officers had to restrain Lombardi and his dogs "jumped into the act", nipping at both officers.
After Const Stewart was bitten on the hand, she used her pepper spray on the dogs. Lombardi responded by encouraging all three dogs to attack. Const Stewart was bitten again on the arm and Const Harris received two puncture wounds to his elbow.
It was "a most unpleasant incident", the judge told Lombardi.
But she accepted from Mr Dawson that the defendant had been on restrictive bail conditions for five months with no breach; he had not committed any further offences and had a very positive report from probation about completing his release conditions.
Lombardi wanted to do a limited service volunteer course and the judge agreed with Mr Dawson that, as the defendant was approaching 20, he was realising there was more to life than living it as he had been.