A dog owner whose prized pooch was attacked and seriously injured by an American bulldog is furious at the Far North District Council over its decision not to lay charges.
Greg Fisher of Auckland was holidaying at Cable Bay on Easter Saturday when his 2-year-old dachshund Bruno was attacked on a road by another dog which ran out of an unfenced property.
Bruno suffered a crushed shoulder blade and was rushed to a veterinary clinic in Kaitaia where he was stabilised. The council was contacted and the American bulldog was seized.
Fisher's lawyer Baden Meyer said the offending dog's owner, who lived next door to the Fishers' holiday home, had to punch and kick it to make it let go off Bruno.
Meyer said the dog's owner apologised to Mr Fisher's mother-in-law who was walking Bruno and said he would pay all vet bills.
On May 18, Fisher received a call from the council's dog ranger Mark King who said the American bulldog would be released back to its owner.
Fisher said he was told by council lawyer George Swanepoel the next day an independent board of three people assessed the incident and it was decided the attack did not warrant a prosecution.
"There's a public safety issue here. I had my three children present that day and they could have been attacked as well. The council has not seen the seriousness of what happened,'' he said.
"I think they have just taken the attitude of ignoring the issue in the hope it will go away. Instead of getting a proper feedback on why the threshold for prosecution was not met, I had to keep ringing and sending emails for answers."
After spending nearly $2000 in vet bills and other expenses and another $2000 in legal fees, Fisher said he could not afford a private prosecution. He was paid $1030 in vet bills by the owner of the other dog but said other expenses such as physiotherapy and time off work have still not been settled.
Council's compliance manager Darren Edwards said the dog owner was issued with a $200 infringement notice and a dog control notice.
Animal control staff undertook a thorough and impartial investigation, he said.
Edwards said the decision not to prosecute was made after Mr Fisher indicated he neither wanted that course of action nor the offending dog destroyed.
But Fisher denied making those indications.