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Detention for owner of attack dogs

By Imran Ali

FIGHTING ON: Paul Logan has accepted his conviction and sentence but will appeal an order to have his dog destroyed. PHOTO/RON BURGIN
FIGHTING ON: Paul Logan has accepted his conviction and sentence but will appeal an order to have his dog destroyed. PHOTO/RON BURGIN

A dog owner whose animals attacked a mental health worker has been sentenced to home detention but will fight an order to have one of the dogs destroyed.

Paul Logan was convicted and sentenced to four months' home detention by the Whangarei District Court yesterday on two charges under Section 57 of the Dog Control Act and one under Section 58.

His dogs Luna and Misty, both smithfield/mastiffs, attacked and badly injured a female mental health worker who was visiting a client, for whom Logan was a caregiver, on July 16, 2013.

Logan placed himself between the mental health worker and the dogs in order to stop the attack - an act that saved him from going to prison.

Judge Greg Davis said Luna attacked the mental health worker from behind, knocking her to the ground.

The victim could feel the dog's teeth grinding her skull and pulling skin away.

Misty later joined the attack and, at times, both animals attacked opposite ends of her body.

The worker received severe injuries to her head, arms, legs and back and spent 4 days in hospital.

Speaking from his Waipapa home, the victim's brother said his family accepted the non-custodial sentence because Logan, through his actions, saved the situation from getting worse and because he had pleaded guilty.

He said his sister wanted to move on, although she felt uncomfortable around dogs these days, unlike previously.

The man said Misty should be destroyed because it had the capacity to attack in future.

Luna was destroyed the same day while Misty is still being impounded.

Judge Davis said the aggravating features of the offending were Logan knew the worker would visit the property yet didn't secure his animals and the woman suffered serious injuries.

However, Logan put his life at risk to stop the attack , which was a significant mitigating factor during the sentence.

He said the offence to which Logan pleaded guilty to was termed strict liability, which meant it was irrelevant whether the dog owner knew his animals would attack someone.

Rob Hart, representing the Whangarei District Council, asked for an order that Misty be destroyed.

Logan's lawyer, Wiremu Puriri, said his client didn't consent to an order for destruction of the dog and would appeal it.

Judge Davis made an order for the destruction but gave Logan seven days to appeal the order.

He cancelled Logan's outstanding fine of $5102 that he was paying at $35 a week and ordered that he pay $500 reparation to the victim at the same rate per week.

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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