Panel hears of dog's marauding behaviour

COLLETTE DEVLIN
Last updated 05:00 06/06/2013

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A woman fearful for her safety because of her neighbour's partying ways and menacing dog regrets moving into her property.

An Invercargill City Council hearings panel heard Kathryn Macgregor's submission at the appeal of a menacing dog classification for Tamara Selwyn's pet, Roda.

Ms Selwyn did not attend to put her case and could not be contacted by the panel.

Lack of control had been an ongoing problem with the dog and it had repeatedly displayed aggressive behaviour towards her, Ms Macgregor said.

She felt threatened and afraid in her own home, which she had moved into in December.

"I would not have signed my lease if I had known it would be this much trouble," she said.

She told the panel how the dog had chased her when she tried to confront Ms Selwyn several times. Once, while she was recovering from surgery, the dog chased her from the house, around the corner. The dog had also chased her daughter off her trampoline, tipped over her rubbish bins and wandered on her property after squeezing through the hedge.

"I actually feel sorry for the dog," she said, referring to the owner's partying lifestyle.

The panel was told a search of council records in respect of Roda showed 13 complaints from various people had been logged against the dog and owner over three years.

The complaints referred to the repeated lack of control of the dog, aggressive and territorial behaviour, incidents of the dog rushing at people and attacking domestic cats, while animal control officers had made repeated attempts both verbally and in writing to Ms Selwyn to encourage her to control and confine her dog at all times.

Senior animal control officer Steven Boyd said Ms Selwyn's property was not adequately secure to confine the dog.

In her letter of objection to the classification, Ms Selwyn she has had no prior problems with the lack of control of her dog, which had been brought up in a family environment around children.

"I strongly disagree with the complaints being made. I have tried to patch up the back hedge but it is rather difficult as there are too many hedges. Rota is very friendly and has never growled at a child," she said in her letter. Her stance was backed by six letters of support for her "friendly" dog.

But Mr Boyd recommended the classification remain.

Council environmental health manager John Youngson said he admired Ms Macgregor for coming forward. "The council needs more support from people like her."

Hearing chairman councillor Graham Sycamore said the panel would make a decision in the next few days.

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- The Southland Times

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