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Family loses Supreme Court battle to save husky ‘Aspen’ on death row after killing two other pets

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Family loses legal battle to save their husky Aspen from death row after killing Bert the guinea pig and a chicken while walking on the beach

  • Death row Husky owners appealed to NZ Supreme Court to spare their dog’s life
  • The dog shot 300 meters when he let go of the leash and attacked the small animals
  • Their two-year lawsuit ended in failure and the dog had to be euthanized










A beloved family dog ​​who killed two pets will be put down after a last-minute Supreme Court appeal to save him failed and devastated his owners.

Aspen, a Siberian husky owned by Alexandra and Graham Johnston, was ordered to be destroyed in a court decision after the dog fled off leash while on a beach walk, killing a chicken and a guinea pig in May 2020. .

Leaving Aspen off leash without training to return on command cost the dog 18 months in a pound cage and ultimately his life.

The Johnstons, who live in Auckland, New Zealand, have appealed to the Supreme Court in a desperate attempt to save their dog from death row.

Aspen, a Siberian husky owned by Alexandra and Graham Johnston, was ordered to be destroyed in a district court decision after the dog fled off-leash while on a beach walk, killing a chicken and a guinea pig in May 2020. . They appealed to the Supreme Court. Court and lost

Beloved family dog ​​who killed two pets must be euthanized after last-minute Supreme Court appeal to save him fails and devastates his owners

Beloved family dog ​​who killed two pets must be euthanized after last-minute Supreme Court appeal to save him fails and devastates his owners

The couple’s appeal was based on the “exceptional circumstances” argument that it’s in the nature of a big dog to chase smaller animals.

Ms Johnston also argued that the chicken’s owners, Sandra and Cesara Chwieduk, were responsible because the bird roamed outside his home – which the dog ran 300 meters to reach.

The Johnstons also argued that the guinea pig’s stay was not sufficient to prevent Aspen from reaching it.

Eight months before Aspen killed the animals, he was chasing chickens outside the Chwieduk’s grounds, apparently remembering where they lived.

Judge Edwin Wylie was unconvinced by the Johnstons’ arguments.

“The appeal against conviction must be dismissed,” he said.

“There doesn’t seem to be any authority to suggest that it is the responsibility of pet owners to prevent a dog attack.

“It is clearly the dog owner’s responsibility to prevent attacks on pets.”

The Johnstons posted photos of chickens roaming outside a suburb to a Facebook group used to campaign for Aspen.  Part of their defense was that the dog couldn't help his nature and was forced to chase the stray chickens

The Johnstons posted photos of chickens roaming outside a suburb to a Facebook group used to campaign for Aspen. Part of their defense was that the dog couldn’t help his nature and was forced to chase the stray chickens

The failed appeal found that it took the dog 18 months in a pound cage and ultimately his life to let Aspen loose without the training to return on command

The failed appeal found that it took the dog 18 months in a pound cage and ultimately his life to let Aspen loose without the training to return on command

The judge accepted that the decision could cause Aspen’s owners and their son “distress” as the dog “was”.a beloved member of their family’.

“I recognize that suffering, but I have to apply the law which is very clear. There were no exceptional circumstances,” he said.

The Johnstons were fined $750 and ordered to pay $150 for “emotional damage” to the chicken’s owners, and Belinda Tustin, who owned the guinea pig.

The couple used social media to campaign for their dog, arguing that animal control laws are “draconian.”

“Okay, blame me, throw me in jail, but don’t destroy a beautiful dog,” Johnston wrote in an emotional Facebook post.

“That’s just not right.”

He said the case was “two years from hell” and regretted that Aspen had been locked in a pound cage for months while the lawsuits were pending with no visitors allowed.

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