Woman stood her ground when pig dogs attacked

A woman was injured when she picked up an elderly poodle while it was being savaged to death by two pig dogs at Leithfield, North Canterbury.

The woman’s clear courage was described in the Christchurch District Court when the owner of the pig dogs pleaded guilty to two charges before Judge David Saunders.

Max the 15-year-old poodle was rushed to a vet but died on the way, and the two pig dogs that attacked have now been destroyed as well.

They were owned by Erin Kate Graham, of Leithfield, who has admitted charges of owning dogs which attacked the woman and the poodle in the terrifying incident on October 24.

Counsel for the Hurunui District Council, Shaun Brookes, said the dogs involved were a labrador-greyhound-mastiff cross named Captain, which was unregistered, a labrador-greyhound-boxer cross named Kahu, and a greyhound cross named Ness. All are pig-hunting dogs.

Graham let four dogs out of their dog box about 7.45am and went inside the house to attend for her infant daughter. There was no fencing on the property and the dogs went out onto Terrace Road, while not under any control.

Three of the dogs went up to a woman who was walking a friend’s poodle, Max, who was on a lead. Max’s owner was overseas at the time.

They surrounded the woman and Max and Captain and Kahu attacked the poodle, biting him and pulling him between them.

The woman lifted Max from the ground and Captain and Kahu jumped on her, causing minor injuries before members of the public – including Graham – arrived to help her and Max.

Max received multiple serious wounds, including a large tear to the left abdomen exposing the muscles, bites and tears to the lumbar muscles, bites and a skin tear to the throat, broken rips, and chest trauma.

The woman received scratches to her hands, and abrasion on her buttocks, and a strained neck.

Mr Brookes told the court the cost of the attack: medical treatment and physiotherapy cost $103, plus $339 for damage to her clothing and shoes, $846 to replace her broken glasses, veterinary bills of $47.50, and $185 to have Max cremated. The owner bought a new dog for $350.

Defence counsel Shannon-Leigh Litt said Graham was willing to meet the woman and Max’s owner at a restorative justice meeting but they had declined.

Judge Saunders remanded Graham for sentencing on September 21. He said her contribution towards reparations for the damage caused would be taken into account in her sentence.

The Hurunui District Council said she had been spoken to in May and June last year about not having her dogs under control.

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