Death row dog saved by court

VICTORIA ROBINSON
Last updated 05:00 13/04/2012

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A West Auckland man has won a legal battle to save the life of his beloved dog.

Christoph Neubusch appeared in the Waitakere District Court for sentencing yesterday, after pleading guilty in February to owning a dog that attacked a man.

Neubusch's boxer-cross, Chips, bit a man who was at his Henderson home picking up some goods he had bought from Neubusch on Trade Me.

At yesterday's hearing, Neubusch faced a maximum $3000 fine and the possibility the court would order Chips be destroyed.

The Dog Control Act says any dog that attacks a person must be destroyed unless there are "exceptional circumstances" surrounding the attack.

Both the Auckland Council prosecutor and Judge John Adams accepted Neubusch's lawyer Scott Leith's arguments that there were special circumstances in Chips' case.

The judge said the complainant had not given Neubusch much notice before turning up to pick up a table.

And instead of going to Neubusch's front door, he went around the back where Chips and his mother Fish were kept.

"Then he unwisely kicked the mother dog - unsurprisingly, the young dog bit him," Judge Adams said.

The judge told Neubusch he had acted "impeccably" in apologising to the man and dressing his wound, which later required ten stitches.

"Your criminality is pretty low in this matter but nonetheless your dog bit this chap and there are consequences."

Judge Adams ordered Neubusch to pay the complainant $850 for emotional harm.

Outside court, Leith said Neubusch was "relieved" by Chips' reprieve, and was looking forward to getting on with his life.

Neubusch said a congratulatory treat for Chips might even be on the cards this weekend.

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