Trio sentenced in 'nasty' dog attack

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The owners of the dogs were ordered to pay emotional harm and medical costs.
The owners of the dogs were ordered to pay emotional harm and medical costs.

The owners of three dogs have been have been ordered to pay emotional harm and medical costs to the two women who were mauled in a "nasty" and "completely unprovoked attack".

James Andrew Clarke, 27, Belinda Anna Vearer, 46, and Kayla Ekaterina Bremner, 23, stood alongside one another in the dock as they were sentenced yesterday in Napier District Court.

Clarke and Vearer were also sentenced to 150 hours community work. They both had pleaded guilty to two charges each of owning a dog that attacks a person and causes serious injury,

Clarke's male Mastiff-cross, Max, and Vearer's male Staffordshire bull terrier, Halo, were surrendered and destroyed immediately after the incident.

Bremner pleaded guilty to two lesser charges of owning a dog that rushes to a person causing injury.

She was ordered to pay a $1500 fine for each charge. Bremner's male Rhodesian ridge-back cross, Rascal, had not been destroyed and her lawyer, Baeden Meyer, said there was no evidence to suggest it had contributed to the injuries.

The dog had been taken into custody following the incident last year and Bremner's application to Hastings District Council to have the dog freed for Christmas was declined.

Mr Meyer said his client was willing to comply with special conditions according to the council should the dog be freed which included her pet wearing a muzzle and complying with property checks.

Judge Mackintosh said that although assessments of the dog had been carried out she was not satisfied the dog would not pose a threat in the future and ordered Rascal to be destroyed.

Also appearing for Vearer, Mr Meyer told the court "there are no winners in a situation like this," and the women were "deeply remorseful".

The trio had tried to restrain the dogs on October 3, 2015, by blocking the property's entry with a wire mattress base and a wheelie bin.

Clarke's lawyer said Max was a big dog who had been taken to training to expose him to other people and teach him the appropriate behaviour. The SPCA rescue dog had frequently been handled by others and was away from his usual home at the time of the incident.

Crown prosecutor, Fiona Cleary, said the attacks where not territorial because the dogs were roaming freely on the Whirinaki beach and they were both "completely unprovoked".

Judge Mackintosh said this was what made the incident so "nasty," it was a "joint enterprise" with a pack mentality.

In October, at about 2.30pm a 37-year-old woman was set upon by the dogs while jogging along the beach. She had spotted them, with no owner, and made for the road when they began nipping at her.

She managed to wave down a car as the dogs pulled her down.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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