The owner of an unregistered dog, which savagely attacked a Ballarat meter reader, says the incident occurred because the animal was provoked.
Leigh Richards believes her dog attacked the Central Highlands Water employee at her Ballarat East property because the canine was assaulted first.
She told the Ballarat Magistrates Court on Thursday she would be contesting one charge of causing serious injury by a dog attack.
Meter reader Stephen Dean entered Richards' Humffray Street North property about 9am on July 23 to access the meter.
A City of Ballarat prosecutor told the court Richards' dog followed her outside when she exited the house to speak with Mr Dean.
He said the animal lunged at the victim, who then used a handheld device and screw driver to hit the dog to protect himself.
But the dog attacked the 60-year-old, taking hold of Mr Dean's lower left leg which caused him to fall to the ground.
The prosecutor said the dog bit the victim's shin and shoulder before he managed to get away to a nearby fence.
But the dog latched onto Mr Dean's knee and the attack continued.
Two tradespeople, who were working nearby, ran to Mr Dean and managed to remove the animal from his leg.
Mr Dean was taken to Ballarat Base Hospital where he was treated for blood loss and leg injuries. He required skin grafts to 70 per cent of his leg.
"He will not be able to attend work in the same capacity as a result of the incident," the prosecutor said.
City of Ballarat rangers attended Richards’ property to seize the dog, which was euthanised the following day.
Richards’ lawyer said the attack occurred because the dog was assaulted when it was hit with the handheld device and screw driver.
"We will admit the injuries are serious, we will admit we are the owner of the dog and the failing to register," he said.
But he said the attack would be not admitted because the dog was provoked.
Magistrate Ron Saines said the issue was clearly a factual argument.
"The injury is breathtaking. The injuries support an inference it was a pretty savage attack," Mr Saines said, to which the lawyer replied, “When provoked, your honour”.
The case was adjourned to a two-hour contested hearing in May where two witnesses, including Mr Dean, will give evidence.
Richards has indicated she will plead guilty to not registering the dog with the City of Ballarat, while she will contest one charge of causing serious injury by a dog attack.
The City of Ballarat filed the charges with the Ballarat Magistrates Court.