Dog attack charges admitted, discharge sought


A Lake Hayes Estate woman admits charges relating to an on a 3-year-old boy last year.

But she wants a discharge without conviction and opposes the dogs being destroyed.

In the Queenstown District Court yesterday, Rachel Kane-Smith, 34, admitted owning the dogs that attacked a boy at Herries Lane, Lake Hayes Estate, and failing to keep them under control, on November 4.

The charges were laid by the Queenstown Lakes District Council under the Dog Control Act.

Each charge carries a maximum penalty of $3000 and the first comes with a mandatory order for the destruction of the dogs, barring exceptional circumstances.

The summary of facts says Kane-Smith was supervising her child, riding a bike in Herries Lane, while the two dogs – a 6-year-old black labrador named Poppy, registered to Blair Christmas, who was living with Kane-Smith, and a 7-year-old male rottweiler named Kahu, registered to Kane-Smith’s husband, Tyrin Smith – were nearby.

Neither dog was on a leash or confined to the residence.

About 4.30pm the 3-year-old boy, his 5-year-old sister and their grandmother returned to the children’s Herries Lane home.

When the children approached Kane-Smith later the labrador started barking and rushed at the children.

The children fled and both dogs pursued them.

The 5-year-old ran to the side of the house near the garage but the 3-year-old tripped and fell as he reached the lawn of his home.

The black labrador and rottweiler bit him and pulled at his trousers.

The grandmother took him to a doctor for treatment. The toddler required stitches for three leg lacerations.

”Ms Kane-Smith stated to council’s investigating animal control officers that she was in charge of both dogs at the time of the attack and that when she noticed the attack she called both dogs away,” the summary says.

Kane-Smith admitted the charges but said through her lawyer she intended to seek a discharge without conviction.

She will also argue exceptional circumstances to avoid having the dogs destroyed.

While Kane-Smith was eligible for diversion, that required agreeing to the destruction of the dogs.

Judge Michael Turner remanded her at large until April 28 when her application would be heard.

Restorative justice would be assessed, the court heard.

• A Wanaka couple will stand trial in Queenstown after denying charges laid against them under the Dog Control Act.

Shane Colin Ritchie (39) and Anna Louise Frances Hughes (34) face charges of being the owners of two dogs that attacked stock and failing to control those dogs on June 30 at Wanaka.

While Ritchie admitted failing to keep the dogs under control and was convicted on that charge, he denied the other charge against him, while Hughes denied both.