The devastated owner of a dog that attacked and injured a Hawke's Bay nurse making a home visit says her family has been fractured by the incident.

Pounamu Morunga-Cooper said she wanted her male mastiff-labrador cross called Smokey returned home by the Hastings District Council so her family could be whole again.

The council's Hearings Committee on Thursday heard the incident occurred on March 24, when the nurse was making a prearranged visit to a patient at a Bledisloe St, Hastings address.

What followed, according to Morunga-Cooper, was human error and miscommunication that she said she regretted had caused the nurse significant physical and psychological distress.


There was an alert on the file – 'dog at the address'.

The nurse had phoned in advance and was advised that it was safe to enter through the front gate.

But at the time she arrived Morunga-Cooper was outside playing with Smokey.

The nurse was then attacked by Smokey who jumped the gate, biting her on the foot, causing her to fall to the ground.

He then bit her on the buttock.

As a result of the attack the nurse required medical attention at Hawke's Bay Hospital. She suffered a significant puncture wound, so deep it required an x-ray.

The nurse has been unable to work or drive due to her injuries and has been suffering from anxiety and nightmares.

At the time of the incident the Smokey was unregistered. He was subsequently impounded by the Hastings District Council pending the outcome of a prosecution.

Morunga-Cooper said her family was "very remorseful" about what happened.

But they would like Smokey back and said they had made improvements to the house to ensure it does not happen again.

"He's a family pet and has been with us since he was 6 weeks old.

"He'd never bitten anyone before, so him being in there and away from us he'd be going through a lot of distress.

The family's relationship with her grandfather - the patient the nurse was coming to see - has deteriorated since the incident, and he had moved out as a result, she said.

"I take full responsibility with what has happened as Smokey's owner - it was human error and not Smokey's fault."

Morunga-Cooper said she had since registered Smokey and he no longer had access to the front section of the property.

"We have blocked the open side of the property to where Smokey can't jump over the fence, which measures about 1.5m.

"The gate that he had jumped over, we've done improvements on that to where it is high and he can't jump over that, measuring at roughly 1.5m also."

She said she would plead guilty to charges police or council chose to lay in future.

The maximum penalties for a dog causing serious injury is a fine of up to $20,000 and a term of imprisonment of up to three years.

If convicted, a court could also make an order to destroy the dog.