A "much-loved family pet" who bit a man's calf will be destroyed, after its owner's pleas for mercy were rejected.

The Court of Appeal today dismissed an appeal by Kenneth Ernest McClintock against a court order to destroy his dog Scoobie - an Australian cattle dog cross.

The judgment states Scoobie had been classified since 2010 as a dangerous dog, meaning he must be kept in a secure area or muzzled and on a lead.

Scoobie had been left in a van outside Mr McClintock's place of work in Taupo with the door open. He got out and bit a Mr Rean on the calf as he walked past.

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Mr McClintock pleaded guilty to failing to comply with classification as a dangerous dog and being the owner of a dog that attacks someone. Both charges require the court to make an order for destruction of the dog unless there are exceptional circumstances.

The District Court found no exceptional circumstances, nor did the High Court on appeal.

To the Court of Appeal Mr McClintock claimed Mr Rean kicked Scoobie, provoking him, and only suffered a nip that did not need medical treatment. He said the dog acted in "self-defence".

He said the dog was of good temperament, devoted to children and denied Scoobie was a dangerous dog.

"And he seeks mercy, saying that he is 76 and in ill health and Scoobie means everything to him," the judgment said.

However, the court concluded Scoobie attacked without provocation and there was no excuse for not having him secured. It found Mr Rean did need medical attention.

"It seems plain that Scoobie has an over-developed territorial instinct. And while we accept that he is a much-loved family pet whose fate may exacerbate Mr McClintock's health difficulties, that is not an exceptional circumstances either."