“Chopper” the rottweiler

High Court confirms it is the dog owner’s behavior, not the victim’s, that was under scrutiny in serious attack

After a short hearing in the High Court yesterday, Justice Brewer agreed with Jodi Libbey, appearing for Tauranga City Council, that it was the dog owner’s behavior and not the victim’s that was under scrutiny after Chopper the 50kg rottweiler seriously attacked a vet and broke her arm.

In convicting the dog owner and remitting the case back for sentencing, the Judge succinctly said that “[the dog owner] could have taken two simple steps.  She could have kept Chopper in the car.  Or, and this might not have been enough, she could have kept physical control of Chopper herself rather than leaving the dog with her 13 year old son.”

This case has attracted a lot of attention in the past year and provides a useful reminder of the obligations that dog owners have.

For any of council clients interested, the decision of Tauranga City Council v Fraser [2023] NZHC 723 can be downloaded from our website here.

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