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Tauranga pound home to country's most dangerous dog

Thursday 01 May 2008 12:00a.m.

Tauranga pound home to country's most dangerous dog

Dogs come in many shapes and sizes, but not many are described as New Zealand's most dangerous dog.

The Tauranga dog pound has a good candidate for the title - a dog that has been described as being like a loaded firearm.

The animal has already attacked a veterinary surgeon, and has been held in the pound for ten months, because it is too fierce to set free.

His tail may be wagging, but according to pound staff that means he wants to interact - and not necessarily in a nice way.

Animal control officers and vets say that he is the most ferocious dog they have ever seen.

"I believe in probably 14 years of vet work he's probably the most aggressive, menacing, threatening looking dog I've ever seen," veterinarian Grant McKay told 3 News.

When the dog was left at a rented property by a previous tenant, he attacked the person meant to be looking after him.

The dog is believed to be a bullmastiff cross, and weighs around 45 kilograms.

A destruction order has been issued, but the owner refuses to allow the dog to be put down. She has been fighting through the courts to save him for most of the past year.

When he was taken in for an inoculation the dog attacked the vet.

"It was totally unexpectedly and unprovoked, he just jumped at me," veterinarian Dr Liz Schneider said. "He actually bit my shoulder and scratched my arm, and he pushed me against the side door, which broke off and fell against the wall in the next room, and broke a hole in that wall."

The dog has now been in a cage for ten months and is so dangerous that he is not even allowed out for exercise.

"I've often heard people say that a dog like that is like a loaded firearm," animal services manager John Payne said. "But I think it's fair to say a loaded firearm won't go off on its own - a dog like this would. That's the problem, you just can't control them, and you can't predict what they're going to do next."

John Payne is the president of the Animal Control Officer's Institute. He estimates the Tauranga Council has spent $12,000 in legal action and the costs involved in keeping the animal in captivity.

He is now seeking a law change so dangerous dogs like this one, can be put down swiftly.

"There was a big effort, and probably a big cost to prevent a dog like that going out into the community," Mr Payne said. "And that's where we think the problem is. We need a law change so that we can actually deal with those kinds of situations much more effectively and in the interests of community safety."

The Ministry of Internal Affairs said that the submissions for a law change are before a select committee, but it is not a short process and will take some time.

 
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