A man pleaded guilty in Whanganui District Court on Tuesday to one charge of owning a dog that attacked a person, although it was revealed he did not in fact own the dog.

Evan Marvelly took his brother-in-law's dog Bruce to Castlecliff Beach in November last year and it ended badly for one beach-goer.

Representing Whanganui District Council, Joelle Avery told the court of the situation.

"On October 29, 2017, the defendant took Bruce to the beach in Castlecliff, Whanganui, with his own dog and another dog," she said.

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"At around 10.30am, Mr Spain and his wife approached the defendant, who was playing with the dogs, including Bruce.

"One of the dogs, a Jack Russell wearing a muzzle, ran towards them and the defendant called the Jack Russell away.

"Bruce then ran towards Mr and Mrs Spain, the defendant yelled something like 'he's ok, don't worry' but Bruce ran behind Mr and Mrs Spain and bit Mr Spain on the ankle."

Marvelly restrained Bruce, offered assistance and apologised to Spain, who required stitches at Whanganui Hospital for a 3cm-deep laceration.

"On the day that it happened, I wasn't aware that the dog was menacing," Marvelly said.

"I've known him all my life and I've never seen any aggression from him before."

Marvelly was ordered by Judge Garry Barkle to pay a $500 fine, $37 reparation and $250 emotional harm reparation as well as solicitor's costs of $150 and a $80.50 service fee.

He pleaded that Bruce, back at home with his owner, should be able to live and will have a chance to further state his case at a hearing to decide whether or not destruction will be ordered on September 24.