Dogs have at­tacked be­fore

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By PETRICE TAR­RANT

Three dogs who mauled Ian John­ston’s jack rus­sell to death should never have been un­re­strained, ac­cord­ing to the bro­ken hearted owner.

The Mata­mata marathon run­ner said his fam­ily is ‘‘ heartbroken’’ after what hap­pened on the evening of Novem­ber 3 when he took his two jack rus­sells for a run along the South Waikato River Trails.

He was run­ning north along Hui­huitaha walk­way with his ‘‘lit­tle mates’’ when a one big dog ran past him fol­lowed quickly by two oth­ers.

He said be­fore he knew it they were at­tack­ing his ‘‘lit­tle girl’’. He man­aged to yell them off but some­how they started maul­ing his 9-year-old Austin.

He clearly re­calls the at­tack­ing dogs as a dober­man pin­scher, a black labrador cross and a male brown labrador.

John­ston said the at­tacks were all over in about 10 seconds but he re­mem­bers hear­ing a mighty bite.

‘‘In be­tween that my male dog was fa­tally in­jured.

‘‘The male biker caught up to me and he saw my lit­tle guy had been in­jured and he stopped and said: ‘ Oh, I’m so sorry, hope he’s OK.’ And he did ask if he could do any­thing’’.

But in his shocked state John­ston told the biker to leave.

‘‘I sort of knew our guy was fa­tal. . . I guess you hope against hope. I thought I could carry him back to the car and he’d be OK but when I put my head to his heart I heard all this fluid gush­ing around and I knew it was blood. . . I prob­a­bly walked on for 150 me­tres then there were th­ese con­vul­sions and I guess that was blood in his lungs and I knew he was gone then.’’

The four kilo­gram dog be­longed to John­ston’s 19-year-old son.

John­ston said lo­cals helped iden­tify the own­ers who are now be­ing dealt with by an­i­mal con­trol and the South Waikato River Trails.

‘‘A fish­er­man was at­tacked the same night, he was bailed up by the same dogs.’’

The owner of the dogs had ‘‘the au­dac­ity’’ to tell the fish­er­man he shouldn’t be fish­ing there that night, John­ston said.

And that is not the first time, ac­cord­ing to John­ston who said it ap­pears the dogs con­fronted a woman about two weeks prior to that and a cy­clist about six months ago, he said.

He said he loves the South Waikato and does not want peo­ple to be afraid to walk its beau­ti­ful tracks.

‘‘But on the flip­side I’m con­cerned, next time there could be a fam­ily there. You just don’t know.’’

BRO­KEN HEARTED: Ian John­ston is dev­as­tated after his 9-year-old Jack Rus­sell was mauled to death.

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