James Ihaka

James Ihaka is a Herald reporter based in Hamilton.

The big battle to save Boris

Owner of `boisterous' giant schnauzer ponders appeal against court's euthanasia order.

Jennifer Layton's dog Boris bit a guest at her B&B in Whitianga last October and faces a euthanasia order.
Jennifer Layton's dog Boris bit a guest at her B&B in Whitianga last October and faces a euthanasia order.

A Whitianga woman is considering taking the fight for her beloved dog to the High Court after it was sentenced to death.

Jennifer Layton has less than three weeks to file an appeal with the High Court after her 6-year-old giant schnauzer Boris was ordered to be euthanised.

Mrs Layton, who runs a Whitianga bed-and-breakfast with her husband, Brian, was sentenced in the Thames District Court last week for owning a dog that attacked a person after he broke his collar and lunged at a woman last October.

The court ordered Boris to be euthanised and costs of $250 to the victim. Mrs Layton has also been banned from owning another dog for five years.

Mrs Layton admitted it was not the first time Boris, whom she described as "boisterous" and with a "nervous disposition", had been involved in an incident - he apparently knocked over a local police officer last year.

"They call it attacks, but he didn't draw blood or bite ... He bruised [the woman] because he's 46kg," she said.

"We paid $3500 to put him into a training camp for three weeks. Then he was brought home and the house was set up and everything was hunky dory and nothing has happened since then but we were still convicted."

An agreed summary of facts said that on October 2, Boris had been barking at the victim, who was collecting her belongings.

He broke free from his collar and ran towards the victim, then bit her above the knee. The victim was "considerably distressed" and suffered bruising to her upper left leg.

Boris was impounded on October 18 but released on December 2 so he could undertake the animal behaviour training.

Mrs Layton's lawyer, Scott Leith, said an appeal had been lodged against the Thames Coromandel District Council notice banning her from owning a dog for five years..

"We are talking about a 67-year-old pensioner and her schnauzer, not a 32-year-old gang prospect with a pitbull," he said.

Council spokesman Steve Hart said Boris was classified as dangerous last year after he bit a police officer.

Boris' fate

The crime

A summary of facts says Boris, a giant schnauzer, broke from his collar, ran towards his victim and bit her above the knee. The victim suffered bruising.

The sentence

Owner Jennifer Layton was convicted of owning a dog that attacked a person. The court ordered Boris to be put down, which she is considering appealing. She has also been banned from owning another dog for five years.

- NZ Herald

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