Owner no-show in court after Awanui dog attack

By Peter Jackson

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Chris Radich's wounds after the dog attack. Photo  / Peter Jackson
Chris Radich's wounds after the dog attack. Photo / Peter Jackson

An Awanui woman has failed to appear in the Kaitaia District Court on a charge of owning a dog that attacked a person.

Judge MJ Hunt adjourned last week's hearing to April 9 for formal proof, which means it can proceed without the defendant, Christine Marron, being present.

The charge arose from an incident in Long St, Awanui, about noon on October 24 last year, when, according to the Far North District Council's summary of facts, Collard St resident Chris Radich was rushed by two dogs, each taking one of his hands in its jaws and trying to pull him to the ground.

Mr Radich was "yelling and screaming" and in fear for his life.

At that point a dog at 5 Long St broke free of its chain and chased the two attacking dogs off, while a woman at the same address went to Mr Radich's aid.

Council animal management officers subsequently seized two dogs, both described as Labrador-cross, from Marron's address. They have been in the council's custody since.

The summary of facts said Marron had indicated she would defend the charge but was willing to hand one of the two dogs over to the council.

The council told the court that it would be seeking the destruction of the dogs and an order prohibiting Marron from owning dogs for up to five years.

On the day of the attack Mr Radich told the Northland Age he had been pushing a hand cart loaded with a plastic dog kennel along the street when the dogs rushed him.

He leapt on to the trolley and threw the kennel at them without effect. If it hadn't been for Titan, he said, he would have been "ripped to smithereens."

Titan, the dog that went to the rescue when an Awanui man was attacked last year. Photo  / Peter Jackson
Titan, the dog that went to the rescue when an Awanui man was attacked last year. Photo / Peter Jackson

Meanwhile he was not impressed by what he described as a lack of action by the council.

Animal control officers had taken the dogs away on more than one occasion but kept returning them. No action had been taken over an earlier incident, when he had managed to keep the dogs at bay with a lawn mower, he said.

"Everyone in the street has been complaining about [the dogs] for ages. I've complained heaps," he said.

"They're tied up all day and go crazy when they're let off."

The council's district services manager, Dean Myburgh, said the October 24 incident had been responded to swiftly and appropriately.

The dogs had not been held after the earlier incident because it had not met the threshold required to seek an order for their destruction. Neither dog was registered on October 24.

- Northland Age

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