Disagreement in court over culprit in dog killing

Court House-07Has Tyler got away with killing the dog next door?

The Christchurch City Council believes the German shorthaired pointer-Siberian Husky cross is the culprit in the January 31 killing at a property in Norwich Street, Linwood.

But the dog owner, Grant William Cousens, who is also a council inspector, believes otherwise and has had one of his other dogs euthanised for being the guilty party.

Cousens pleaded guilty to four dog control charges brought by the Christchurch City Council and faced a series of financial penalties imposed in the Christchurch District Court yesterday.

He had a reasonably substantial run built for the three dogs in his backyard, but they got out by apparently chewing through a fence. Defence counsel Tim Mackenzie said corrugated iron was then riveted in place to stop them.

On January 31, they got out again and dug up a neighbour’s garden, and then got into the yard of another neighbour where the little dog Izzy was killed.

The woman owner came home to find Tyler standing over her dog’s bloody body, council prosecutor Shaun Brookes said. Tyler had red stains on his coat.

When a council dog control officer went to the property she found Tyler in the backyard and secured him in her truck. The other two dogs were on the first property.

Mr Brookes said Cousens had had the dog he believed responsible euthanised, though the council believed the attacker was Tyler. That meant the council was willing not to pursue a destruction order for Tyler, who was now classified as a dangerous dog.

Because of a ban that will be imposed, Cousens will now have to place his remaining dogs with another owner, or have them euthanised.

He admitted charges of allowing a menacing dog to be at large without being muzzled, failing to keep two dogs under control, and being the owner of a dog that attacked another dog.

Judge Saunders said there was obviously a high responsibility on dog owners to ensure the safety of their pets, and others.

He fined Cousens $1000 and ordered half the fine by paid to the council for the cost of prosecuting, plus court costs, and ordered $700 to be paid to the owner of Izzy as emotional harm reparations. The woman has indicated she will pay the money to an animal charity organisation.

She had complained that Cousens did not show enough sensitivity or remorse at the time of the incident, but he has since offered to meet her at a restorative justice conference – an offer she declined.

Mr Mackenzie said Cousens had euthanised a loved dog and was remorseful for the offending.

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