A police officer was left with holes in his arm when a pit bull dog attacked him as he tried to find a recidivist shoplifter.
The senior constable was off work for two weeks after suffering at the jaws of Danna Louise Fiamatai’s dog.
Fiamatai, also known as Dana Apisai, has since put the dog into hiding, claiming there will be repercussions for her family if she reveals where the dog is.
Fiamatai, 34, pleaded guilty in the Palmerston North District Court on Thursday to charges including shoplifting, driving while suspended and owning a dog that caused injury.
* Police officer shoots dog after it attacks him
* Community detention for attack-dog owner
* Dog attack victim saved by unusual tactic
The dog charge was the most serious offence, taking place on February 20.
Police had visited her home multiple times before that day in an effort to find her, before a senior constable had a go.
As he approached a sleepout, Fiamatai’s pit bull charged and tried to bite him around his upper legs and torso.
The officer had to defend himself by putting out his right arm, which the dog duly clamped down on and pulled.
He managed to free himself by standing on and kicking the dog’s feet, after which Fiamatai restrained the dog.
The officer stayed in Palmerston North Hospital for a night while deep puncture wounds to his arm were treated.
He was off work for a fortnight and had to take antibiotics to avoid infection.
In the meantime, Fiamatai arranged to give the pit bull to someone else.
She told police she was planning on getting rid of the dog before the attack, as she knew police would pay her a visit.
She said she gave the dog away, but would not reveal where it had gone, as she feared repercussions to her family.
Under the law, a dog that causes serious injury to someone must be destroyed unless there are special circumstances.
Meanwhile, the owner can get three years in jail and a $20,000 fine.
The shoplifting happened in October and November last year and involved her stealing grocery items, meat, children’s clothing and Calvin Klein perfume.
Judge Lance Rowe noted Fiamatai had failed to turn up to court when required on five previous occasions.
He granted her bail at her mother’s house until sentencing in June, but warned her no further bail breaches would be tolerated.
Fiamatai also faces two charges of breaching bail, which she pleaded not guilty to.