Owner disputes council version of dog attack

NICCI MCDOUGALL AND LOUISE BERWICK
Last updated 05:00 29/07/2014

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An Invercargill dog owner is disputing the city council's story that his dogs jumped over a fence on his property to attack a building inspector.

This month, Invercargill City Council environmental health manager John Youngson said the inspector was on the footpath near the corner of Nelson St and Tramway Rd when two german shepherds jumped the fence.

The inspector was taken to hospital with a badly bruised shoulder and puncture wounds to the shoulder from the attack.

Youngson's boss, environmental and planning services director Pamela Gare, said she had spoken to the injured inspector and the council believed the dogs jumped on top of the fence, put their front paws up and head over and then bit the inspector.

Gare said no matter what happened, dogs biting people was unacceptable.

It was a legal requirement that someone should be able to enter a property safely to get to the front door of a house, she said.

Dog owner Gareth Jones did not deny his dogs did bite the inspector, but he was disputing the dogs had jumped the fence.

Instead, the inspector got too close to the gate and his 12-year-old dog Luke bit him over the gate, he said. "Would you walk towards a gate with a dog going crazy?"

Luke was barking and Jones' partner went outside to tell him to stop and noticed the inspector next to the gate. While she was unlocking the door, the dog bit the inspector. She called to Luke and he went to her straight away, he said.

The gate was about a metre high and the dog could only just get his chin on top of it, he said.

There were signs around the outside of the property saying to beware of the dogs and there were two entrances. - one in Nelson St and one in Tramway Rd.

If the inspector had gone to the Tramway Rd entrance, he would have been able to ring the doorbell, Jones said.

He had since blocked off the Nelson St entrance.

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