New Zealand Dog News

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February 24, 2012

Family's fight to save attack dog

A West Auckland family battling to save the life of their dog after it attacked a man is hopeful the animal will win a reprieve.

Christopher Neubusch, who has already pleaded guilty to owning a dog that attacked a man, hopes that the "exceptional circumstances" surrounding the ordeal will save Chips' life.

He faces a maximum fine of $3000 when he is sentenced in April, and the court may order the boxer-cross to be destroyed.

Lawyer Scott Leith, who will represent Neubusch at sentencing, said the family is hopeful Chips will be saved after the unprovoked attack.

He said the attack occurred after a man who bought an item from Neubusch off Trade Me walked around the back of the house where the family's dogs, Fish and Chips, were kept.

"He was not entitled to wander around the back of the house, the front door was open and he ignored that," said Leith.

"The dogs started barking and it's believed he kicked them in the guts, which is when he was attacked."

After the attack, Neubusch apologised to the man and dressed his wounds. The man also needed 10 stitches in his arm.

The Dog Control Act says that any dog that attacks a person must be destroyed unless there are "exceptional circumstances" surrounding the attack.

But Leith believes that the "exceptional circumstances" will help save his client's pet.

"There is a grey area. On the one hand, you don't want children hurt and that's why that law is there. But what happens if someone enters your property unlawfully? It's unclear and that's why the circumstances are exceptional," he said.

While Auckland Council will not comment on the case as it is before the courts, Leith said the council has not filed papers opposing the decision to save Chips' life and "accepts that the circumstances are exceptional".

While he said they are "hopeful" in saving the dog's life, they will appeal any decision to have the dog destroyed.
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- © Fairfax NZ News

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