Owner says dog not menacing

The owner of an Alexandra dog which allegedly bit an elderly woman on the buttock is fighting the local council's decision to classify it as menacing.

Alexandra woman Gemma Hinton made a case for her de-sexed huntaway cross Sparky at a Central Otago District Council hearings panel meeting on Tuesday.

After multiple complaints, Sparky was classified on March 8 as menacing under section 33A of the Dog Control Act 1996, which Ms Hinton formally objected to 10 days later.

A report by council regulatory services manager Lee Webster said a complaint was also received in December 2018 from an elderly neighbour after Sparky bit her on the buttock.

Ms Hinton argued she had put measures in place since then, including lowering her gate earlier this year, and there had been no further complaints since.

She also said that Sparky did not bite her neighbour, rather leaping excitedly paw-first, as the dog had been known to do.

Hearings panel member Neil Gillespie said that even if this was the case, the resident was still wounded

Options the hearings panel considered included upholding the menacing dog classification or rescinding the classification.

As a decision to uphold the menacing dog classification would mean a "life sentence", Mr Gillespie and felllow hearings panel member Stephen Jeffery both agreed to adjourn until September, pending continued good behaviour from Sparky and further information from a specialist.

The classification remains intact until September.

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