Dog Owner Fined After Pet’s Attacks on Plumber and Police Officer Ignite Fear in Motueka Community
Dangerous Dog Saga Ends in Court Conviction
A court drama involving the owner of a vicious dog has reached its denouement, with the Nelson District Court levying a substantial fine against the pet’s guardians.
The dog, a Rhodesian Ridgeback/Terrier, Staffordshire Bull cross named Doosh, had a history of dangerous behavior and attacked both a plumber and a police officer. After a series of distressing events and court proceedings, the dog’s owner Luana Burke and her ex-partner Justin Gage were found guilty and fined.
The Unfortunate Events
The dramatic chain of events began when Doosh attacked local Motueka plumber Mike Hay, who was attending a service call at Burke’s property. In an unprovoked assault, the dog bit Hay, leading to a hospital visit and stitches for the victim. The plumber was off work for a month recovering from the trauma and injuries inflicted by Doosh.
Following the attack on Hay, Doosh bit a police officer who was making inquiries about the dog. Despite the officer’s use of pepper spray, the dog bit him twice, requiring medical attention.
The Conviction and Its Aftermath
Burke and Gage faced the Nelson District Court and were convicted on several counts. Burke pled guilty to two charges of being the owner of a dog that attacked a person, and Gage admitted to wilfully obstructing a dog control officer. The court fined Burke a total of $1600 for her charges and Gage $800 for his obstruction.
Alongside these fines, an emotional harm payment of $300 was awarded to Hay, split between the two defendants due to their joint responsibility for the dog.
The Impact on the Community
The events have left deep impressions on the local community, with Hay reporting anxiety about visiting client properties and expressing concern about the potential danger to children during Halloween.
Ensuring Community Safety
After the distressing events and subsequent court proceedings, Doosh was euthanized. The case serves as a stark reminder for pet owners about their responsibilities and the potential consequences of not managing their animals effectively.
It also highlights the significant work done by local authorities, such as the Tasman District Council, in responding to complaints, ensuring public safety, and enforcing pet ownership laws.
While the case has been resolved in court, the reverberations continue to affect the Motueka community, with people hoping such a distressing incident will not happen again.
For more detailed accounts of this story, visit NZ Herald.