Lies fail to save vicious pit bull

A Palmerston North man has lied in court to try to save his American pit bull from being killed, after it leapt over fences to sink its teeth into the throat of a bull mastiff.

Jeremy Michael Low, 36, has owned his dog Sire for nine years, and said in the Palmerston North District Court yesterday that he loved his dog.

The two were also pepper-sprayed together in February last year, when Low tried to set Sire on to police who went to his house.

But Sire will now be put down, after Low was found guilty of failing to restrain him, and Sire's attack on Boss.

The court heard that Joseph Hart was watching V8 Supercars racing on a television in his home on January 5 with his friend Jason Larsen, while his bull mastiff Boss stayed inside.

Boss needed to go to the toilet, so Hart let him into the back yard and tied him to a fence.

Larsen and Hart went back inside to watch more television before hearing barking in the back yard.

Hart went outside and found Sire in his yard, jaws locked around Boss' throat.

Low turned up and tried to pull Sire away, but was unsuccessful and said "there's not much I can do now".

Hart went inside, grabbed a baton and hit Sire to make him go away.

Sire and Low jumped across one fence into a neighbouring property, before jumping another fence into their own yard.

They were seen doing so by the owner of the neighbouring property, Raymond Lewer.

But Low, who gave evidence in his defence during his judge-alone trial yesterday, said that did not happen.

He said he had been in hospital at the time and Sire was staying with his brother on the other side of Palmerston North.

But Low was caught out by prosecutor Nicholas Jessen when asked how he felt when Sire was hit with the baton.

"It made me angry," Low said.

"Wait, I don't know about any of that. I didn't see no baton hit.

"It made me, it would have made me angry."

Judge David Smith said that piece of testimony proved Low had lied, but the evidence before then had confirmed the attack happened.

"Low clearly loves Sire very much, to the extent he is prepared to lie to the court," the judge said.

Low was convicted on those two charges and a charge of failing to register Sire, to which he had already pleaded guilty.

He must pay $900 in fines and $160.90 in reparation for a vet bill. Boss recovered from the attack.

The judge said he was also required by law to order the destruction of Sire.

"That is the highest penalty you are going to suffer," he told Low.

Manawatu Standard