Second order for death row dog to be put down

Last updated 05:00 25/06/2014
Dog on death row
ON DEATH ROW: Beau in the council pound with owner Julie Snodgrass. She has visited him every week during the 18 months he has spent there.

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A dog that has been on death row for 18 months has been ordered to be destroyed for a second time, after an appeal to the High Court.

Beau, an american staffordshire terrier-great dane cross, was 18 months old when he was seized by Kapiti Coast District Council after an incident involving a doberman of about the same age in Matthews Park, Paraparaumu, in September 2012.

Both dogs were off leads and Beau's owner, Julie Snodgrass, said he was just playing roughly with the other dog, Ryder, when it suffered two puncture wounds to its leg.

Ryder's owner, Dominique Sutherland, a council employee at the time, said Beau started growling at Ryder, chased him and tried to bite his neck.

When Ryder tripped and rolled, Beau "locked him down", biting her dog's left leg, which required treatment by a vet, Sutherland said.

Snodgrass, who kicked Beau to get him off the other dog, said: "It was a playful chase, he tackled the dog with an open mouth . . . did not close his jaw.

"He could have ripped that dog's leg off . . . all he left was two minor, barely-through-the-skin toothmarks that did not need stitches, just cleaning."

Last June, Snodgrass was convicted by Judge Bill Hastings in Porirua District Court of owning a dog that attacked another dog.

He ordered Beau be destroyed, sentencing Snodgrass to a $500 fine and $3484.10 reparation to the council.

Snodgrass appealed against her conviction, which included Beau's destruction, and the award of costs. This week Justice Denis Clifford, in the High Court at Wellington, dismissed the appeal to save Beau's life.

The question of costs was reserved. The judge decided the reparation Snodgrass was to pay for Beau's impoundment and sustained fees were civil debts, not the appropriate subject of reparation.

If the parties were unable to agree, they had three weeks to file submissions.

Snodgrass, who has visited Beau at the pound every week, has 21 days to appeal against the latest decision before he is put down. She is adamant she will fight on, so she can have the case reheard with "proper defence and proper evidence that were left out". She wants a judicial review of the council's actions.

"The council should do what it has done with other dogs, classify Beau [menacing] and put a muzzle on him," she said. "He is a beautiful-natured, lovely dog . . . he should not be paying for the minor injuries with his life. Other dogs have done far worse and just been muzzled."

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