Destroy the dog, charge the owner with the crime as if s/he performed the attack

The latest vicious dog attack in South Waikato has the dog control manager there asking the government to enforce the neutering of menacing dogs.

A 16-year-old boy suffered serious injuries when he was attacked by a three year old pitbull-boxer cross in Tokoroa on Wednesday.

The attack only stopped when the boy’s three friends managed to grab the dog and sit on it.

It comes after a spate of serious dog attacks in the last week, with the victims including a young boy, a pregnant woman and an elderly woman.

Kerry Beckett a South Waikato district council compliance manager said it was time for a tougher approach.

“That may mean that we make the South Waikato mandatory if you have a pitbull or any of the menacing breeds, then you must desex it.”

It’s a start.   But a black market in entire pit bulls will simply take the place of the ones currently sold.  An even the SPCA and the NZ Kennel Club say that de-sexing isn’t the solution.  

John Anderson, the father of a dog attack victim, wants the government to face up to the thousands of people who are injured each year.

His daughter was mauled in 2003, and has gone through countless operations since.

Mr Anderson told Morning Report the minister Louise Upston needed to meet with the victims and their plastic surgeons so she could understand the profound trauma of an attack.

He said a ban would be hard but the government should consider neutering and higher registration fees for dangerous dogs, as well as higher penalties and assault charges for the owner if the dog does attack.

It will start with the pit bulls.  And then, if that works, some other breed will rise to the top of the statistics.  Currently, Labradors head that list simply due to the large proportion of the total dog population.   And few, if any, are looking to ban Labradors.

So the answer has to be elsewhere.  It needs to go back on the owner.  Every dog that attacks a human in unprovoked attacks is immediately taken and destroyed by the council.  Any damage and injuries that result need to be paid for in full, or in perpetuity, by the owner.

We all have knives, but when someone uses one to stab a jogger in Remuera, we don’t have a discussion about what type of knife to ban.  We clearly blame the person using the knife.

Dog ownership comes with a responsibility that the public is safe.  If that turns out to be false, the owner needs to bear the full cost of the consequences.  And in severe cases, such as severe disfigurement or permanent disability, the owner needs to also face punitive damages and a loss of liberty.



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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story.  And when he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet.   Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet, and as a result he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him.  But you can’t ignore him.