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NZVA Disappointed With Dog Attack Court Ruling

The New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA) is expressing its disappointment today regarding Tauranga Moana District Court’s decision on a serious dog attack on a Bay of Plenty veterinarian.

Dr Liza Schneider was attacked by the dog in the Holistic Vets carpark in October last year, requiring surgery for torn muscles and a broken bone in her arm.

NZVA Chief Executive Kevin Bryant said the decision makes it very clear that under no circumstances should vets risk their safety when treating an animal. "Veterinarians are highly trained professionals who take a wide range of precautions to protect themselves and their teams. This ruling is likely to make vets even more cautious."

"The case is a sombre reminder of the dangers veterinarians face in their work," he said.

"We are disappointed with today’s ruling. Liza is a highly regarded member of the veterinary profession both in Tauranga and across the country. Managing difficult dogs is a daily occurrence for vets, but managing hazardous ones is not. They can be unpredictable and do serious damage."

"At the end of the day, we have a veterinarian who was seriously injured by a dog that wasn’t appropriately controlled. It is upsetting that the judgement is implicitly blaming her for that."

Bryant says all owners play a critical role in socialising their pets and taking steps to prevent attacks from happening.

"Safe dog ownership starts with training dogs to prevent them from biting and harming people. Dog attacks are devastating for everyone involved. While vets love the work they do, the job can be incredibly difficult in situations like these."

Owners are encouraged to check out the NZVA’s responsible dog ownership resources on the Association’s website

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