The owner of 14 sheep killed by a dangerous dog was too distraught to take part in restorative justice, Dannevirke District Court was told on Monday.
Owner of the dog, Minnie Jessica Rose Hauiti-Kiriwera, 29, Dannevirke, was appearing for sentence on three charges brought under the Dog Control Act. The charges were owning a dog that attacked stock, owning a dangerous dog that was not kept muzzled and failing to control a dangerous dog.
The attack happened on June 28, 2018.
At the time the dog, a male pitbull terrier, was classified as dangerous as it had attacked a goat in February 2017.
Judge Gerard Lynch said the dog was able to leave its property through an unsecured gate.
It had made its way to a property on the outskirts of town where it attacked a flock of sheep which was made up of a ram, four lambs and nine ewes, some of which were in-lamb.
The owner of property arrived at the paddock to see the dog eating one of the sheep. He was menaced by the dog so called Tararua District Council's animal control officer.
Eleven of the sheep were killed outright, one died from its injuries and two were euthanased.
"The victim was very upset because of the horrific injuries inflicted on his sheep," Judge Lynch said.
"I have seen photographs of the dead sheep and can see this would have been absolutely upsetting for the owner to see his stock killed and injured in this way. These sheep were pets, he had hand fed them and they would follow him about."
Judge Lynch said Hauiti-Kiriwera was prepared to take part in restorative justice but the victim understandably didn't want to attend.
Duty lawyer Will Hawkins said Hauiti-Kiriwera had built a high fence around her property to contain the dog but on the day it wandered off she had fallen asleep and was unaware the gate had not been padlocked.
In a submission to the court Hawkins suggested that rather than impose a fine an emotional harm payment could be ordered.
Judge Lynch said in come cases where a dog has attacked stock the fine would be around $500.
However, he said this case was a departure from the norm and the end fine would be between $1000 and $1500.
Hawkins said the offences invited a fine, converted to an emotional harm payment, of $1000.
In setting the fine Judge Lynch said he needed to be careful not to set the amount too high as to be unaffordable.
Judge Lynch said in Hauiti-Kiriwera's favour was that she absolutely regretted what had happened.
She had no previous convictions and while her property was fully fenced the gate was left unsecured.
"However, aggravating features were that the dog had attacked before and the number of animals that were attacked."
On the charge of owing a dog that attacked stock, Judge Lynch fined Hauiti-Kiriwera $1000 which he converted to an emotional harm payment.
She was also ordered to pay reparation for the cost of the stock of $2320, veterinarian fees of $277, $200 towards solicitor's costs and $258 court costs.
On the charges of failing to control a dangerous dog and failing to muzzle a dangerous dog she was convicted and discharged.
The dog was euthanased on July 9, 2018.
This was the second prosecution in recent months following an attack by a dangerous dog.
Last month Skye Ramiri Awhiotau Mogford appeared for sentencing on charges of failing to comply with the classification of a menacing dog, failing to control a wandering dog and being the owner of a dog that attacked a domestic animal.
The court was told the Mogford had failed to keep the dog under control. It had escaped and had been causing problems around Dannevirke.
She had been warned a number of times to keep the dog muzzled and under control.
On January 21 2019 the dog had escaped and killed a cat. It had subsequently been put down.
Mogford was ordered to pay $200 in emotional harm to the owner of the cat. She was also ordered to pay $933.55 in court costs, service fees and solicitor's fees as well as $1536 in pound fees.
The court was told Mogford owed around $13,000 in reparation and $3783 in fines relating to other charges.
In remitting the fines Judge Lance Rowe sentenced Mogford to 100 hours community work, cumulative to the 98 hours she was already undertaking.