Magistrate labels owner ‘in denial’ over dog’s friendliness while handing down thousands of dollars in fines for Wangara attacks

stock image.
stock image.

AN astonished magistrate has told a man he was in “total denial” about the friendliness of his former dog after it attacked a man and a woman in Wangara last year.

The woman spent two nights in hospital and required surgery to mend severe wounds on her arm, which was left permanently damaged.

The dog was eventually put down after it attacked a 16-year-old boy in an incident unrelated to this case.

Antonio Cicchino was due to face trial in Joondalup Magistrates Court on Monday having pleaded not guilty to two charges of “dog attack causing physical injury” and one charge of not being in control of a dog in a public place.

The trial did not go ahead after he changed his plea to guilty.

He faced hefty court costs of more than $10,500, much of which stemmed from the expense of the prosecution’s preparation for the trial.

Magistrate Edward de Vries said he was “not convinced” Cicchino was “genuinely remorseful” and fined him $6000 over the attacks, taking his total penalty to nearly $17,000.

Both victims were in court for the hearing.

The court heard Cicchino’s 14-month-old kelpie cross bull arab attacked a tow truck driver who was in the yard of Cicchino’s business to remove a car about 2pm on February 21 last year.

City of Wanneroo prosecutor Sam De Vita said the dog had been locked away but escaped and “latched on” to the man’s right hand.

He said Cicchino had made “no mention” to the driver about the dog being on site.

Cicchino’s lawyer explained the pet was kept at home most of the time but occasionally accompanied him at work.

The victim had to scale a pile of tyres to safety.

The dog then ran out of the property and mauled a woman who was walking past the yard.

Mr De Vita said the animal “ran straight for her and jumped on her towards her face”.

The dog “shook her arm violently” as she shielded herself from the attack, which resulted in nerve, tendon and muscle damage.

She now suffered nerve pain and numbness in the arm.

Cicchino’s lawyer said his client, who helped with first aid after the attack, had “expressed not only his remorse, but his horror” at the outcome.

“He wishes nothing more that he can go back in time and stop the incidents from occurring,” he said.

Mr de Fries handed Cicchino pictures of the victims’ injuries.

He questioned him about the dog’s nature, and said the animal “must have shown” signs of aggression.

Cicchino said the animal had been “just a normal, playful dog”.

Mr de Fries told him he was “in total denial”.

“The injuries are horrifying,” he said.

“He brutally attacked two people… this wasn’t a playful dog playing with these two people.”

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