Paige the jack russell isn't 'menacing' and shouldn't have to wear a muzzle, owner says video

Marty Sharpe/Stuff

Taradale woman Marion Sturm and her Jack Russell terrier 'Paige', who has been classified as a menacing dog.

Meet Paige.

She's middle-aged, fiercely independent, but also a big lover of cuddles.

She's sociable, enjoys fine-dining and long walks, and adores kids and the elderly.

Marion Sturm and her jack russell terrier, Paige.
MARTY SHARPE/STUFF

Marion Sturm and her jack russell terrier, Paige.

A resident of the hills above Taradale, Hawke's Bay, Paige (who is a seven-year-old jack russell terrier) was a bit naughty recently when, most unlike her, she wandered off her owner's property and killed a neighbour's chicken.

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Since that indiscretion on May 16, Paige has been classified by Napier City Council as a "menacing dog" and has had to wear a muzzle whenever she leaves her property.

American pit bulls are a breed of dog that has a menacing classification. (File photo).

American pit bulls are a breed of dog that has a menacing classification. (File photo).

Owner Marion Sturm, who has had Paige for six years, is appealing the council's classification and wants to be able to take her out without the muzzle on.

The matter will be heard by the council's hearings committee later this month. An agenda has been circulated and the hearing advertised.

"It's all quite extraordinary," said Sturm.

Sturm, who has paid $500 on the council fine, pound fees and other expenses including "chicken reparation", said she was sorry for the damage Paige had caused, but the gentle-natured dog had an otherwise blemish-free record and she vowed it would not happen again.

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Paige is partial to hunting mice, rats, rabbits and cockroaches, but is "the warmest-natured dog", Sturm said.

"She loves children, and would always be up for a pat for any kids we see when I take her out walking. Now the kids, or their parents, see the muzzle and they won't go near her," Sturm said.

"She has never menaced another dog, or chicken for that matter. She loves her exercise and is always on a lead so I have full control. Her favourite exercise is retrieving sticks in the river, which is impossible when she's muzzled," she said.

Sturm takes Paige to visit the elderly at Atawhai Rest Home five times a week.

"They adore her there," she said.

Paige is one of about 10,000 dogs in New Zealand classified as "menacing" under the Dog Control Act - meaning they can behave in a menacing way. Menacing dogs must wear muzzles in public places.

There are 556,762 registered dogs in New Zealand. Jack russells are the fourth most popular breed, numbering 17,514.

Jack russell terriers usually grow to be about 6 or 7kg.

There are five dog breeds which automatically receive menacing dog status: Brazilian Fila, Dogo Argentino, Japanese Tosa, Perro de Presa Canario and American Pit Bull Terrier.

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