Dog escapes euthanasia order

An English bull terrier that attacked two boys in Glentui Heights won’t be put down, a judge has decided.

However, Judge Russell Walker told the dog’s owner, Glyn Wilkinson, he was ‘‘lax’’ to allow the attack to occur, and fined him $500 at his sentencing in Queenstown’s court this week.

The court heard Wilkinson took Reggie, then aged 17 months, for a walk on the Bob’s Cove loop track about 5pm on March 22 last

After passing a park where the boys, then aged 10 and 12, were playing on a flying fox, he continued down to the beach, where he took Reggie off his leash.

Wilkinson lost sight of the dog after he ran into the forest to chase rabbits, but as he returned to the top of the loop track, saw him near the flying fox.

Knowing Reggie was prone to leaping at the flying fox, he shouted at the boys to get off.

However, the dog jumped at them both, biting them on their legs.

The victims, who were ‘‘screaming’’ as they fell off the flying fox, were treated at the Queenstown Medical Centre for multiple leg wounds and bruising.

Queenstown council’s dog control team classified Reggie as ‘menacing’, and later charged Wilkinson with owning a dog that attacked a person.

Wilkinson’s lawyer, Michael Walker, said he was ‘‘extremely remorseful’’, and he and his partner had made a genuine effort to put things right.

The defendant voluntarily paid the boys’ family $1500 in reparation soon after the attack, cooperated with the council’s investigation, and admitted the charge at the first opportunity.

Wilkinson and his partner accepted they’d been ‘‘somewhat naive’’ about Reggie’s breed, and arranged for the dog to undergo behavioural training.

They opposed any order for Reggie to be euthanised.

The training he’d undergone, and because he had to wear a muzzle while in public, made another attack ‘‘most unlikely’’.

Judge Walker told Wilkinson the attack was the consequence of a ‘‘one-off failure by you to maintain effective control’’.

Although Reggie was allowed to be off-leash in the park, Wilkinson knew he got excited by the flying fox.

‘‘That was lax on your part.’’

A report by a dog behaviour expert found the main factors in the attack were Reggie’s youth and the defendant’s lack of awareness of English bull terriers’ ‘‘behavioural needs’’.

Reggie was normally friendly and good-natured, and had no ‘‘malicious intent’’ towards the boys, but was attracted to fast-moving objects like the flying fox.

A destruction order was a normal consequence of a menacing dog classification unless there were exceptional circumstances, Judge Walker said.

However, he found ‘‘by a fine margin’’ there were such circumstances, and declined to make an order for the dog to be put down.

Wilkinson had no previous history with dog enforcement, and was a ‘‘man of good character and a contributing member of the community’’.

After applying discounts for his good character, ‘‘genuine remorse’’, early guilty plea and efforts towards Reggie’s rehabilitation, Judge Walker convicted Wilkinson and imposed the $500 fine.

Catch of the day

Jason George Johnston, 42, drove while four times the legal booze limited because he wanted to get his catch of fish and oysters home.

Johnston, a crane operator, of Fernhill, recorded a breath-alcohol level of 1088mcg after he was stopped on Frankton’s Stewart St on April 14 — driving a car with an expired rego.

At his sentencing for aggravated drink-driving in Queenstown’s court this week, which triggered alcohol interlock provisions, counsel Bryony Shackell said Johnson had been driven from Bluff earlier that day by a sober driver.

He intended to taxi home from where his vehicle was parked, but misplaced his eftpos card, so decided to drive to get his fresh catch home.

Judge Walker told Johnston his alcohol level had been ‘‘terribly high’’, convicted him and sentenced him to 100 hours’ community work.

He can apply for an alcohol interlock licence after a 28-day stand-down.

Other sentences

● Justin Roberts, 24, unemployed, of Queenstown, aggravated drink-driving (689mcg), aggravated breaching alcohol interlock licence, Marina Dr, possessing cannabis, March 20, 2023, in Queenstown, 150 hours’ community work, 12 months’ supervision, disqualified 28 days, alcohol interlock provisions.

● Peter William Blair, 39, builder, of Skippers, suspended driving, Frankton Rd, January 9, Queenstown, 150 hours’ community work.

● Jake Ashley Gibbs, 28, bar worker, Australian national, of Queenstown, obtaining $1212.50 by deception, May 23, 2023, 35 hours’ community work, reparation $1212.50.

● Michael Allan Rapson, 37, unemployed, of Queenstown, aggravated drink-driving (472mcg), breaching alcohol interlock licence, Frankton Rd, September 20; breaching Search and Surveillance Act, September 20; theft (items valued at $39.78 from Pak’n Save Queenstown), August 22-September 15; theft (items valued at $231 from The Warehouse Queenstown), August 22, six months’ community detention, reparation $270.78, disqualified 28 days, alcohol interlock provisions, 12 months’ supervision.

● Dylan Rudd Stuart, 34, of Queenstown, assault, July 21, Queenstown, emotional harm reparation $500.

● Ila Martin Vollmer, 19, building apprentice, of Arrowtown, assault, September 2, Arrowtown, sentence deferred 12 months.

● Izak McWilliam Te-Kanawa, 19, concrete placer, of Shotover Country, assault with intent to injure, July 8, Queenstown, discharged without conviction, 53 hours’ community work, emotional harm reparation $1000.

● Toby James Aikman-Nordon, 19, student, of Dunedin, assault, July 8, Queenstown, discharged without conviction, 80 hours’ community work, emotional harm reparation $500.

● Raphael Claude Aubert, 29, French national, of Christchurch, drink-driving (659mcg), Coronation Dr, Queenstown, May 18, fined $650, disqualified six months.

● Jake Willem Gillespie, 27, of Waikiwi, threatening language, resisting police, May 1, 2023, Queenstown, sentence deferred 12 months.

[email protected]

- Advertisement -