Dog's attack was 'meant for bike', not postie
SEAMUS BOYER - WAIRARAPA
Two Martinborough vineyard owners are fighting an order to keep their dog muzzled in public after its attack on a postie.
David and Winifred Bull, who own The Cabbage Tree Vineyard, admit blue heeler Freddie bit the postie's shin outside their Kitchener St home in June. When Mrs Bull tried to intervene, the 3-year-old dog also bit her, leaving a wound requiring seven stitches to her hand. The postie also needed medical attention.
The couple have since asked South Wairarapa District Council to reverse its decision to classify Freddie as menacing, which means he must wear a muzzle and be on a leash when in public.
Yesterday Mrs Bull told an appeal hearing the dog had been whipped into a "frenzy" by the postie's attempts to shield himself with his bicycle.
"We do not underestimate the seriousness of this," she said. "Freddie should not have injured the postman . . . but his behaviour is specific to the postman."
If Freddie had intended to attack the postie, his injury would have been much worse, she said. "I believe he was going for the bike and not the postman."
The couple had since put a padlock on a side gate, installed chicken wire along a hedge, and started retraining Freddie to ignore bicycles, her husband said.
Hearing panel member and South Wairarapa councillor Brian Jephson said such behaviour was "bred into" Australian cattle dogs.
Mayor Adrienne Staples, who chaired the hearing, said any bite was taken extremely seriously.
"As a dog owner myself I understand that they are like a family member. The problem is that he has bitten someone . . . and if the postman had made a bigger fuss, you might not have a dog at all."
A decision on whether to rescind the classification would be made today or early next week, she said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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