On 28 August 2017, in the early hours of the morning, Police engaged in a pursuit of a stolen vehicle in Porirua. The vehicle stopped on Coates Street and the occupants fled on foot.
At approximately 1.30am a Police dog handler was deployed to locate the driver. The Police dog indicated the track from the abandoned vehicle led up a steep bank.
The dog handler clipped the dog's harness onto a tracking line and they began to climb through thick bush. While climbing, the tracking rope became caught on some branches. The officer attempted to release the tracking line but lost his balance and fell down the bank. Meanwhile the tracking line became free and the dog continued to track of its own accord.
The officer called his dog to return but it did not. As he began to look for his dog, he heard a scream and realised the dog had bitten someone.
The officer followed the sound and found the dog biting a woman who had been hanging out washing in her back garden.
The officer removed his dog and tied it up, then attended to the victim. He called an ambulance, carried out first aid and attempted to keep the woman comfortable until the ambulance arrived. The woman was taken to Wellington Hospital where she received treatment for injuries to her left calf.
Police acknowledged that the dog bite should never have occurred and formally apologised to the victim. She received financial support from Police to assist her and her family while she recovered from her injuries.
The Police dog handler and his dog were required to undergo full re-certification training and have since returned to duty.
The Authority agreed with the Police investigation outcomes.