New Zealand's councils have different rules when it comes to dogs.

In some regions, attacking a human equals euthanisation for the canine. It's a zero tolerance approach, that not all animal lovers appreciate.

In Hawke's Bay, we seem to veer toward the benefit of the doubt going to the dog.

Because of this the dog that attacked and bit a Hawke's Bay District Health Board nurse is lucky to be alive.


The nurse had been visiting Bledisloe St, in Hastings. She had phoned ahead and had been told it was safe to come in through the front gate.

Except that the property wasn't adequately fenced, and the dog leapt a gate and attacked her.

The nurse screamed for help and two women emerged from the house and helped control the dog.

The dog, a male mastiff-labrador cross, was unregistered. It has been seized and impounded while the owner is prosecuted.

It turned out that not only could the dog jump the gate, if it had run around the back of the house there was no fencing to stop it getting to the nurse.

The nurse may not feel this way, and understandably so, but in a way it was lucky that the victim on this occasion was an adult.

A child entering the property retrieving a ball may have fared far worse.

The owner wants the dog back but it is difficult to see under what circumstances that could happen. That ship has sailed.


An owner unable to fence an animal properly or register it should not have a dog returned in these circumstances.

There needs to be zero tolerance towards dogs that attack humans.

Dogs that attack once, tend to do it again. And if owners can't control them, then the sad reality is that somehow, the dog needs to be controlled.

If it cannot be retrained and rehomed, then the Hastings District Council - which considers the animal's fate - may have little option other than to have the dog euthanised.