Notice of the ordinary meeting of the

Hearings Panel - Other

Rōpū Rongonga – Aha atu anō

Date:		Wednesday 16 September 2020
Time:		9.00 a.m.
Location:		Council Chamber, Civic House
			110 Trafalgar Street
			Nelson

Agenda

Rārangi take

Chair                Cr Kate Fulton 

Members         Cr Trudie Brand 

                         Cr Matt Lawrey 

                             

                             

                             

                             

        

Pat Dougherty

Chief Executive

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nelson City Council Disclaimer

Please note that the contents of these Council and Committee Agendas have yet to be considered by Council and officer recommendations may be altered or changed by the Council in the process of making the formal Council decision.

 


Hearings Panel – Other

Functions:

To conduct hearings and/or determine under delegated authority applications relating to the Dog Control Act 1996, all matters relating to Temporary Road Closures pursuant to Schedule 10 Clause 11(e) of the Local Government Act 1974, matters relating to naming features within the city, and any other matters required for determination by Council under legislation as determined by Council.

Membership:

All elected members aside from the Mayor, in rotation.  Each Hearings Panel-Other will be made up of three members.

The Group Manager Environmental Management may appoint one or more Independent Commissioners to either assist the Hearings Panel - Other or to hear and determine any particular application, such as when Council or a Council-Controlled Organisation or Council-Controlled Trading Organisation is (or could be perceived to be) an interested party, other than applications made for temporary road closure under Schedule 10 Clause 11(e) of the Local Government Act 1974.

Powers to Decide:

The power to appoint a panel to hear and determine with any other consent authority any application requiring a joint hearing

The power to hear and recommend appropriate actions from hearings of designations and heritage orders

The power to hear, consider and attempt to resolve contested road stopping procedures

The power to consider and determine applications for temporary road closures made under Schedule 10 Clause 11(e) of the Local Government Act 1974

The power to hear and determine all matters arising from the administration of the Building Act 1991, and the Building Act 2004

The power to hear and determine objections to the classification of dogs, and all other procedural matters for which a right of objection and hearing is provided for under the Dog Control Act, 1996

The power to name all features within the city requiring naming including roads, streets, service lanes, plazas, parking areas, parks, reserves, gardens and all public facilities or infrastructure, aside from those impacted by the Naming Rights and Sponsorship Policy for Community Services Facilities

The power to provide advice to applicants on appropriate names for private roads, rights of way or other legal forms of private access to property

The power to make changes to the schedules to the Parking and Vehicle Control Bylaw that do not require public consultation

The power to hear submissions and recommendations on proposed changes to the schedules to the Parking and Vehicle Control Bylaw requiring public consultation

The power to administer the administering body functions under section 48 of the Reserves Act 1977 on proposed rights of way and other easements on reserves vested in Council

 


Hearings Panel - Other

16 September 2020

 

 

Page No.

 

1.       Apologies

Nil

2.       Confirmation of Order of Business

3.       Interests

3.1      Updates to the Interests Register

3.2      Identify any conflicts of interest in the agenda

4.       Public Forum

 

5.       Objection to Classification of dog Banshee as menacing.
Hsin Chien (Ashley) Shih                                             4 - 29

Document number R18163

Recommendation

That the Hearings Panel - Other

1.    Receives the report Objection to Classification of dog Banshee as menacing.
Hsin Chien (Ashley) Shih (R18163) and its attachments (A2438905, A2438911, A2438915, A2134555, A2438922, A2438931); and

2.    Dismisses the objection of Hsin Chien (Ashley) Shih to the Classification of dog Banshee as menacing; and

3.    Upholds the classification of dog Banshee as menacing.

 

 

  


 

Item 6: Objection to Classification of dog Banshee as menacing.
Hsin Chien (Ashley) Shih

     

 

Hearings Panel - Other

16 September 2020

 

 

REPORT R18163

Objection to Classification of dog Banshee as menacing.
Hsin Chien (Ashley) Shih

     

 

1.       Purpose of Report

1.1      To decide on an objection to the classification of a Siberian Husky named Banshee as menacing, pursuant to Section 33A of the Dog Control Act 1996.

2.       Summary

2.1      At about 12.30pm on Friday 19 June 2020, Nelson City Council received a report of a Husky dog attacking a sheep in the Stanley Whitehead Reserve, on the hillside at the end of Halifax Street East, below Walters Bluff and Centre of NZ track. At the time the report came in the dog was still on the site.

2.2      On their arrival, Council Dog Control Officers were approached by Ashley Shih who told them she had been out walking her Husky named Banshee on the track and in the wet conditions the lead had slipped out of her hand and her dog had run off. She said she had been searching for Banshee for an hour.

2.3      Banshee was found with a recently deceased sheep, which was up against a wire mesh fence behind Halifax Street East.

2.4      Banshee was eating the sheep when she was found.

2.5      Banshee’s long lead was still attached to her collar and had become entangled around the sheep’s hind leg, suggesting it was likely Banshee’s lead had become entangled with the sheep while she was chasing it. (Attachment 1)

2.6      After investigation and considering the public reported and observed behaviour of Banshee, Nelson City Council classified her as menacing pursuant to Section 33A of the Dog Control Act 1996.              (Attachment 2)

2.7      Banshee is owned by Hsin Chien Shih, who prefers to be called Ashley. Ashley has objected to the classification of her dog Banshee.  (Attachment 3)

 

 

3.       Recommendation

That the Hearings Panel - Other

1.    Receives the report Objection to Classification of dog Banshee as menacing.
Hsin Chien (Ashley) Shih (R18163) and its attachments (A2438905, A2438911, A2438915, A2134555, A2438922, A2438931); and

2.    Dismisses the objection of Hsin Chien (Ashley) Shih to the Classification of dog Banshee as menacing; and

3.    Upholds the classification of dog Banshee as menacing.

 

 

4.       Background

4.1      Nelson City Council is not aware of any previous dog control history for Banshee.

5.       Discussion

Legislation around classification of a dog as menacing

5.1      Section 33A of the Dog Control Act 1996 provides for a dog to be classified as menacing if the territorial authority considers that the dog may pose a threat to any person, stock, poultry, domestic animal, or protected wildlife because of observed or reported behaviour of the dog.  

5.2      Section 33B of the Dog Control Act 1996 provides a right to the owner of a dog classified as menacing to object to the classification and be heard in support of the objection.    (Attachment 4)

5.3      Section 33B(2) outlines that the territorial authority considering an objection may uphold or rescind the classification, and in making its determination must have regard to:

(a)     The evidence which formed the basis for the classification; and

(b)     Any steps taken by the owner to prevent any threat to the safety of persons or animals; and

(c)     The matters relied on in support of the objection; and

(d)     Any other relevant matters.

5.4      Section 33B(3) outlines that the territorial authority must, as soon as practicable, give written notice to the owner of-

(a)     Its determination of the objection; and

(b)     The reasons for its determination.

5.5      Section 33E of the Dog Control Act requires that if a dog is classified as menacing, the following must be complied with:

(a)     The owner must not allow the dog to be at large or in any public place or private way, without being confined completely within a vehicle or cage, or without being muzzled in such a manner as to prevent the dog from biting but to allow it to breathe and drink without obstruction.

(b)     If required by the territorial authority the dog must be neutered. 

Note: Nelson City Council Dog Control Policy requires that all dogs classified as menacing are neutered.

5.6      This recommendation is consistent with previous decisions of the Hearings Panel - Other in relation to menacing dog classifications.

The Evidence which formed the basis for the Classification

5.7      An eye-witness account from a member of the public who looked from her laundry up to the grazing area behind her home on Milton Street, Nelson and saw a dog attacking or eating a sheep. She reported the dog was shaking its head in a vigorous manner. The dog made many attempts to try and move the sheep, and when unsuccessful, fed on it where it lay. She provided a photograph taken by her from her home. (Attachment 5).

5.8      Two experienced Dog Control Officers attended and spoke with Ashley Shih the owner of the dog Banshee. Ashley said she had been walking her dog and the lead had been pulled from her hand and Banshee ran off. She had been unable to locate Banshee.

5.9      Banshee was located by Council Dog Control Officer, Jeff Welch on the hill behind Halifax Street East. She was with a dead sheep, up against a wire fence and was feeding on the sheep, pulling on the carcass.

5.10    When found, Banshee’s lead was tangled around the dead sheep’s hind leg.

5.11    The owner of the sheep, was Andrew Newton, who farms the Council owned reserve land under contract.

5.12    Andrew, a very experienced farmer and stockman, recovered his dead Perindale sheep and provided an e-mailed report in which he stated that the sheep had almost certainly been chased as it was on the bottom fence-line with its head through the netting. It had been badly mauled around the face, probably prior to it getting its head through the fence. Wool had been pulled from the body which was consistent with a continued dog attack. When uplifted the sheep had not been dead long (Attachment 6).

5.13    Mr Newton reported that to catch and maul a Perindale ewe the dog must have been persistent and he would have serious concerns about the dog that inflicted the extent of damage the sheep suffered. 

Steps taken by dog owner to prevent any threat to the safety of persons or animals

5.14    Ashley Shih submits in her objection papers that the following steps have been taken to ensure a similar event will not occur:

·   Banshee has been booked in with a dog behaviourist, specialising in prey drive.

·   Ashley will implement any techniques recommended by the dog behaviourist.

·   Banshee has been de-sexed.

·   Banshee is never allowed off-leash anywhere near sheep or in areas where voice control may be difficult.

·   Ashley trains Banshee daily for impulse control, recall, obedience and walking manners.

·   Banshee is crated inside the house at night and when no one is home.

Matters relied on in support of the objection

5.15    Ashley Shih submits that she has taken steps as outlined above to ensure a similar situation will not occur.

5.16    Banshee is booked into one of the nation's top dog behaviourists and dog psychologists specialising in prey drive, with a history of success in rehabilitation of classified dogs.

5.17    Banshee will complete a 3-week rehabilitation programme.

5.18    On 21 July 2020, Ashley provided a letter from the dog behaviour specialist (Tammi Wharton) who specialises in aggression in powerful dog breeds like Huskies and German Shepherds.

5.19    In her letter, Tammi states she has a very good reputation for turning dogs around and works very closely with dog owners. She has worked with many dogs classed as menacing and fought to have such dogs “taken off the euthanasia list.”  

5.20    Banshee has no history of aggression or killing, nor has she ever been loose or lost. Ashley says she is very careful with Banshee.

5.21    Ashley submits that this incident was a “wrong place, wrong time accident.”

5.22    Ashley states that she will not be near these areas again to completely eliminate the risk of Banshee worrying stock. She has always avoided The Grampians or anywhere there are sheep.

5.23    Banshee has a proven history that she can be trained out of her prey drive - the evidence being with their cats.

5.24    Attendance at the rehabilitation program will reduce the risk of Banshee wanting to worry stock and the program Banshee is booked for has proven success for Huskies and specialises in prey drive.

5.25    The program will also teach Ashley as owner, further ways to manage Banshee’s prey drive.  

6.       Options

 

Option 1: The Objection be Dismissed (recommended Option)

Advantages

·   This will result in Banshee being legally required to wear a muzzle whenever out in public. This will reduce the risk of people, other dogs and animals being attacked and injured or killed should another aggression incident occur.

Risks and Disadvantages

·   This may have a negative impact on life activities that Banshee and her owner enjoy.

Option 2: The Objection be Upheld

Advantages

·    Banshee will not legally be required to wear a muzzle in public.

Risks and Disadvantages

·    This will increase the risk of other animals or people being attacked and injured or killed if Banshee were to again escape and become aggressive.

 

          7. Conclusion

7.1      A member of the public has reported their observed behaviour of the dog Banshee, reporting her as “killing and eating a sheep.” They provided a photograph taken from their house of Banshee with the sheep.

7.2      A Dog Control Officer has found Banshee with a dead sheep, feeding on the carcass and her lead entangled around the sheep’s hind legs.

7.3      The evidence is clear that Banshee chased down and killed the sheep.

7.4      It is considered that in order to reduce the risk of an attack on other animals, stock or a member of the public that the dog Banshee should be muzzled whenever in a public place. A menacing classification is the lowest level of classification and requires the use of a muzzle when in public. A muzzle would not be required when the dog is on private land.

7.5      It is recommended that the objection be dismissed and the classification of Banshee as a menacing dog be upheld.

Author:          Brian Wood, Team Leader Regulatory (Environmental Inspections)

Attachments

Attachment 1:   A2438905 Dog Control Officer Jeff Welch Report

Attachment 2:   A2438911 Menacing Papers dog Banshee Owner Ashley Shih

Attachment 3:   A2438915 Ashley Shih Dog owner 20822 Objection to Menacing classification of dog Banshee

Attachment 4:   A2134555 Dog Control Act 1996 Sections 33A and 33B

Attachment 5:   A2438922 Dog attack on sheep - Eye witness account

Attachment 6:   A2438931 Dog attack on sheep - sheep owner's report

 

 

Important considerations for decision making

1.   Fit with Purpose of Local Government

The regulatory functions are to be performed in a manner that is most cost effective for households and businesses. The Dog Control Act 1996 provisions are being applied appropriately to minimise the public risk.

2.   Consistency with Community Outcomes and Council Policy

The recommendation aligns with the Council’s Dog Control Policy by having regard to the need to minimise the danger, distress and nuisance to the community caused by dogs and/or by non-compliant owners.

3.   Risk

Council has obligations under the Dog Control Act 1996 to follow the correct legal process.

There is a risk to the community from future incidents if the recommendation is not supported.

4.   Financial impact

There is no financial impact for Council.

5.   Degree of significance and level of engagement

The recommendations outlined in this report are not considered significant in terms of Council’s Significance and Engagement Policy.

6.   Climate Impact

This decision will have no impact on the ability of the Council or District to proactively respond to the impacts of climate change now or in the future.

7.   Inclusion of Māori in the decision making process

No engagement with Māori has been undertaken in preparing this report.

8.   Delegations

The Hearings Panel – Other has the following delegations:

•    To hear and determine objections to the classifications of dogs and all other procedural matters for which a right of objection and hearing is provided for under the Dog Control Act 1996.

 

 


Item 6: Objection to Classification of dog Banshee as menacing.

Hsin Chien (Ashley) Shih: Attachment 1

PDF Creator


 

PDF Creator


 

PDF Creator


 

PDF Creator


 

PDF Creator


 

PDF Creator


Item 6: Objection to Classification of dog Banshee as menacing.

Hsin Chien (Ashley) Shih: Attachment 2

PDF Creator


 

PDF Creator


 

PDF Creator


 

PDF Creator


Item 6: Objection to Classification of dog Banshee as menacing.

Hsin Chien (Ashley) Shih: Attachment 3

PDF Creator


 

PDF Creator


 

PDF Creator


 

PDF Creator


Item 6: Objection to Classification of dog Banshee as menacing.

Hsin Chien (Ashley) Shih: Attachment 4

PDF Creator


 

PDF Creator


Item 6: Objection to Classification of dog Banshee as menacing.

Hsin Chien (Ashley) Shih: Attachment 5

PDF Creator


 

PDF Creator


Item 6: Objection to Classification of dog Banshee as menacing.

Hsin Chien (Ashley) Shih: Attachment 6

PDF Creator