Two convictions over dog attack secret

By Cullen Smith -

An attempt by two women to save a family dog from a death sentence has left one scarred for life and both with convictions for lying to police.

The mother and daughter were found by police to have made up stories of a random dog attacking them to cover for the family pet savaging them on two occasions.

In December, police spent long hours investigating their report of a horrifying dog attack in Kaiapoi.

Joanne Maree Aitken, 29, suffered serious injuries requiring reconstructive surgery.

She told police that a man in his 40s was walking a "rottweiler-type" dog that attacked her outside her mother's home when she tried to stop it fighting with her own dog.

Her mother, Ann-Maree Aitken, 53, suffered bites to her arms when she went to help.

But a second incident less than three months later left Joanne Aitken with terrible scarring that requires ongoing treatment.

Police said she suffered a fractured forearm and multiple lacerations to her face, forehead, arms and legs in the March attack.

Both attacks happened at Ann-Maree Aitken's property when Joanne Aitken was visiting.

Police said Joanne Aitken's dog was attacked by Ann-Maree Aitken's four-year-old german shepherd.

It was destroyed by consent the day after the March 19 incident.

Ann-Maree Aitken admitted two charges of owning a dog that caused injury and making a false statement to police. She was fined $200 and ordered to make a $1000 donation to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Joanne Maree Aitken admitted making a false statement and was convicted and discharged.

When The Star visited the property today, Ann-Maree Aitken said the incidents had ruined their lives.

"I just about lost my daughter. She was critical for a while," she said.

She would not say anything more and her husband then ordered The Star to leave.

Joanne Aitken couldn't be reached for comment.

Constable Jake Rowse of Rangiora police said the incidents were a reminder for people to be wary around dogs and to "be upfront with police".

"They obviously thought (the first attack) was a one-off incident and made up a story to save the family dog," he said.

"Police put in a lot of time and effort trying to track down a dog and owner that didn't exist."

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-APNZ

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