A pair of unregistered dogs who mauled five sheep have been spared after a judge found there were “exceptional circumstances”.
Two one-year-old siberian huskies, Odin and Orion, managed to open a window latch and escape their Ashburton property on January 19, 2022.
They ran off, got into a sheep paddock and injured five sheep to the point they had to be euthanised.
The owner of the dogs, Jenene Lisa Johnstone, 38, had earlier admitted two charges of owning a dog causing injury to livestock and two charges of not registering her dogs.
She appeared for sentencing in the Ashburton District Court yesterday.
Johnstone’s lawyer Grant Fletcher said the dogs had matured and been well trained since the attack and were different dogs now, with little risk of recurrence.
He said the attack was not particularly vicious and the dogs were “immature”.
The dogs were also companion animals for Johnstone’s son, who had special needs, Fletcher said.
Judge Campbell Savage convicted Johnstone, and fined her a total of $1100 – $250 each on the attack charges and $300 for each unregistered dog.
Deciding the future of the dogs was “a really difficult exercise to go through,” he said.
The law required an order for the destruction of the dogs to be issued unless there were exceptional circumstances to the attack.
Judge Savage said the dogs “defeated a window latch” and escaped. The window latch had since been replaced.
The dogs had not wandered before, or since.
He found the combination of the latch and the immaturity of the dogs to be exceptional circumstances.
Judge Savage found the attack was unusual to the point to being an exceptional one-off and decided not to issue an order of destruction of the dogs.
- By Sharon Davis