Man sprayed dog in face with oven cleaner

Last updated 11:56 06/03/2014

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A man who sprayed oven cleaner in a dog's face twice at an off lead dog walking park has began a trial in Wellington saying it was self-defence.

The unusual trial of illtreatment of an animal began today in Wellington District Court.

Sergey Zhernov, 59, of Porirua, has pleaded not guilty to a charge of ill treating a dog by spraying it in the face with oven cleaner on January 8 last year.

Crown prosecutor Jamie Eng said Zhernov was in the off lead dog walking part of Ascot Park on January 8 last year.

The dog's owner was walking her dog, and another in the park.  Both dogs were ahead of her.

She could see Zhernov near a track and he waited off the track as the dogs got closer.

Mr Eng said Zhernov called out to put the dogs on the lead.

He then sprayed the oven cleaner into the face of the woman's dog.

The owner asked him what it was but he walked away however shortly after he sprayed the dog again.

Mr Eng said when police spoke to him Zhernov said the dogs were vicious and admitted he carried the oven cleaner with the intent to spraying dogs.

The dog had to be treated by a vet for a burn to the eyes.

Mr Eng said the jury had to decide if Zhernov had caused pain and distress to the dog and if it was unreasonable to do so. 

Defence lawyer Michael Bott warned the jury not to jump to conclusions.

He said Zhernov began carrying oven cleaner to protect himself after his mother was bitten some years before.

Mr Bott said Zhernov felt threatened by the dog and said it had bitten his boots.  He had tried to fight it off with a walking stick, but ended up spraying it in the eyes.

He told the jury that self-defence was the reason for what happened. 

Wellington District Court judge Chris Tuohy told the jury it was an unusual case for a jury, brought under the Animal Welfare Act.

The trial is expected to finish tomorrow.

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- The Dominion Post

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