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Owner of dog fined after it bit pensioner

A dog that attacked a man in his 80s in the Masterton Pak’nSave supermarket car park has been labelled menacing, and its owner has been fined and ordered to pay reparations to the victim.

Wairarapa pensioner Perry Cameron was bitten on his hand by the dog after it lunged at him out of a car window at the supermarket.

Cameron spent 10 hours in Masterton Hospital ED after the attack a few months ago. He needed weeks of follow-up medical care, including antibiotics for an infection. He said he expected to be permanently scarred but is pleased to have retained full use of his hand.

“I’m relieved and impressed by the thorough consideration of the officials,” he said.

“I’m allergic to anti-tetanus serum and penicillin, so it was a close watch.”

Cameron said the surprise attack came during a routine trip to Masterton’s Pak’nSave in early July. A Masterton District Council [MDC] spokesperson confirmed the owner of the dog received a $200 infringement notice for failing to keep the dog under control and, in addition, has paid reparations to the victim.

The dog has also been designated as menacing under the Dog Control Act. This was done by South Wairarapa District Council, with whom the dog is registered, but the designation applies in any location.

The effect of the classification means the dog will now need to be muzzled in public and other places unless it is confined.

The attack happened during a Saturday afternoon shopping trip, at a time when the car park was full.

“The car park was very full, so we had to walk through rows of parked vehicles. As I was approaching the Pak’nSave main door, there was a barking dog inside a parked car. The window happened to be about halfway down,” Cameron said at the time.

“It lunged out through the gap at me and bit my shirt.

“It then had another attempt at me as I was about to continue, and seized my right hand,” he said.

Cameron managed to get away but had been badly bitten.

The MDC spokesperson said the good behaviour of dogs begins with owners.

“Dog owners should avoid situations where their dogs may annoy, frighten or injure someone, or another animal. Incidents of this kind are very distressing to victims and can have serious outcomes,” the spokesperson said.

“Owners of dogs have a responsibility to keep their dogs under control at all times, including when they are left in vehicles.”

MDC advice is that windows should be left open sufficiently for dogs to have fresh air, but they should not allow the dog to have their heads outside the vehicle.

“As the weather gets warmer it is recommended that dogs are not left in unattended vehicles as they can die from excessive heat.” -NZLDR

    Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

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