Say a door knocker comes to your property, “selling” widgets, or religion, or perhaps the latest vacuum cleaner you can’t live without.
Your dog is chained up around the back. You have signs warning, ‘beware of the dog, enter at own risk’.
The door knocker tries the front door and gets no answer. Being persistent (or some would say, very stupid), they head to the back door. Your chained up dog bites the door knocker.
The council dog control officers take your dog and a judge orders your dog to be destroyed.
Does this sound right?
A similar situation befell a Waikato resident recently, so we approached Waikato Council to gain comment.
Megan May, Animal Control Team Leader at Waikato Council advises, “In regards to that scenario, the dog owner may be prosecuted depending on the severity of injuries and the potential ongoing threat to the public. If this happens, the case would go to Court where a judge would determine the outcome.”
Councils do not make the decision whether to destroy a dog, that is a judge’s decision.
Megan continues, “Under law, if the owner is convicted, destruction of the dog is mandatory, unless there are extenuating circumstances that lead to the offence. It’s up to the owner and the lawyer to present the circumstances to the judge.”
Every situation is different. For instance, that door knocker could have been a young child retrieving a ball.
New Zealand’s implied entry laws mean in general, anyone can come onto your property, through a gate and up to your door.
So if you think a sign is going to stop your dog from being destroyed, unfortunately you’re barking up the wrong tree.