Dog-attack feud ends in court

Last updated 10:45 10/07/2013

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A decade-long feud between two Pelorus Sound neighbours over dogs attacking sheep came to a head yesterday in the Blenheim District Court when the dog owner was convicted and fined.

Anthony Arthur Broad, 55, faced three charges under section 57 of the Animal Control Act 1996 of owning a dog that attacked sheep stock.

Broad and his wife Anne Broad own Tira Ora Lodge and Estate in the North West Bay of Pelorus Sound.

Sheep and deer farmer Trevor Foote has lived at a farm in Wilson Bay in the Pelorus Sound all his life. His property borders the Broads'.

Mr Foote shot and killed three of Broad's dogs after seeing them attack his sheep on April 10 last year.

Defence lawyer John Holdaway submitted that Mr Foote kidnapped the three dogs, took them by boat to his property where he killed them, then returned them to frame Broad to get compensation.

In 2003 the neighbours settled a civil case, with Mr Foote being compensated after dogs belonging to Broad attacked his stock.

He had had problems with stock being killed since then, he said.

On April 10 he was riding his motorbike and heard dogs barking at the beach. He saw three dogs mauling a group of his sheep and two already dead in the water.

The dogs were small black and white fox terrier-cross dogs.

He shot and killed three of them and took them to the Havelock police station the next day.

The Animal Control Act 1996 says a person may seize or destroy a dog for the purpose of stopping an attack if the person witnesses the dog attacking any other person, stock, poultry, domestic animal, or protected wildlife.

Two weeks earlier on March 26 he had seen a pack of dogs attack his sheep while he was out hunting with two men on the ridge-line of the western boundary of his farm, which overlooks Brightlands Bay. He fired a shot at the dogs but missed, but they scattered and ran off.

One of his sheep had been mauled in the face and suffered internal injuries. Mr Foote was forced to put it down three days later. He did not call a vet as it had no chance of survival.

"A vet's not going to do anything for internal injuries," he said. "I've lost a lot of animals over the years."

While the dogs were small, they liked to bite the wool on sheep and unsettle them, he said. The dogs were the same colour, breed and size as the ones he shot two weeks later.

Mr Holdaway said Broad had nine fox terrier dogs.

Mrs Broad had noticed three dogs were missing on April 11. Two days later a Havelock police officer and animal control officer went to their Tira Ora property with photos of the dead dogs.

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Broad had not reported his dogs as missing.

Mrs Broad said her dogs were not vicious or cruel natured. Their teeth could not maul sheep, but she admitted they ate possums.

She and her husband, who run a Catholic retreat at their property, had had problems with Mr Foote since 2003, she said.

"We live in beautiful peace. The only way our peace is broken is when Trevor Foote shoots our dogs."

Judge Bruce Davidson said it had to be proved the dogs belonged to Broad and that they attacked the stock.

Allegations by Broad that Mr Foote had kidnapped the three dogs and shot them to get compensation were "outrageous", the judge said.

He convicted Broad on the three charges and fined him $600, reparations of $330 for three sheep killed, and $215.31 for Mr Foote's travel costs and the cost of witnesses.

The Marlborough District Council has the power to disqualify someone from owning a dog for up to five years if they are convicted of an Animal Control Act offence.

- The Marlborough Express

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