Hong Kong dog owner pleads not guilty over dog attack that left neighbour hospitalised for 13 days
She tells court she took all possible measures to prevent attack, but victim still attending physiotherapy sessions
Two Tibetan mastiffs which were left unattended attacked a neighbour just as she left her village house in Yuen Long in November last year, causing her injuries that still require weekly physiotherapy after 13 days in hospital.
Their keeper Cecilia Chui Woon-ho, however, argued in Tuen Mun Court that she took all possible steps to prevent an attack – installing locks, attending training and purchasing special choke chains and muzzles.
But deputy magistrate Pang Leung-ting was also told that the two four-year-old dogs – both over 46kg – were neither leashed nor muzzled when the attack took place outside Block 12 of Mountain Royal on November 11.
Chui’s Indonesian domestic helper further testified she had left the dogs playing in the garden without keeping watch nor checking if the gates were locked as she went upstairs to vacuum the house while she was home alone.
“Then I heard someone shouting so I immediately ran downstairs because I remembered the dogs were playing,” Juminem testified through an interpreter. “But they were nowhere to be found.”
Meanwhile, Cathay Pacific Airways employee Man Sze-wai testified that she was on her way to work shortly after 8am that day when she suddenly realised she was half a metre away from the two dogs.
“I did not dare to walk any closer,” the 22-year-old recalled. “But they sprang at me before I could turn to tell my mom.”
Man was hospitalised for 13 days despite her parents immediately rescuing her. She had stitches across her face, hands, arms and thighs after two operations. The court also heard she was still regularly visiting orthopaedic and plastic surgeons on top of weekly physiotherapy sessions.
“Before you were attacked, did you do anything that could provoke the dogs?” prosecutor Yeung Shak-nung asked.
“No,” Man replied.
Chui, 56, on Thursday pleaded not guilty to two counts of being the keeper of a dog which is not leashed or under control and found in a place from which it might wander into a public area.
She also pleaded not guilty to another two counts of being the keeper of a dog which is not leashed or under control and which bit a person in a place from which it might wander into a public area.
The dog keeper had a lock and a wooden latch to secure the gates and gave her two domestic helpers written and oral instructions to ensure the gates were locked before the dogs were set free three times a day for up to 20 minutes.
She also said her family has attended professional dog training since the dogs were brought home three years ago. “As a home owner, an employer and one of the dog keepers, I believe I’ve fulfilled my responsibility to control the foreseeable,” she added.
The trial continues.