Tauranga dog attack: Woman to challenge charge her Rottweiler mauled vet, fights to prevent dog being killed

Warning: This story contains a graphic image.

The future of a dog that allegedly attacked a vet will be determined in court when its owner stands trial later this year.

Tauranga woman Helen Fraser, 51, was charged after her Rottweiler Chopper allegedly attacked vet Liza Schneider in October last year.

Schneider, one of the owners of Tauranga Holistic Vets, told the Bay of Plenty Times at the time that she required a three-hour surgery to repair torn muscles and a broken bone after her arm was damaged in the alleged attack.

Fraser has pleaded not guilty to a single charge of owning a dog that caused serious injury and she was yesterday excused from appearing in the Tauranga District Court for a hearing to determine a trial date.

Chopper is currently being held at Tauranga City Council’s dog pound awaiting the outcome of the court process.

If Fraser is convicted, the court is required to order the destruction of the dog, unless the Judge is satisfied that the circumstances of the attack were exceptional and do not justify destruction. She would also face a maximum penalty of three years imprisonment or a $20,000 fine.

Crown prosecutor Ben Cochrane told the court that multiple witnesses are set down to be called at trial, requiring a one-day hearing.

However, Judge Thomas Ingram disagreed, setting the matter down for a four-hour trial on June 21.

Fraser’s original lawyer Beverley Edwards has stood down from representing her, with Hamilton lawyer James Carter now acting as counsel. Carter was not present at yesterday’s hearing.

Both defence lawyers specialise in dog control and animal welfare law.

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