An­other dog at­tack Cou­ple face two sep­a­rate in­ci­dents

The Northland Age - - Front Page -

Kaikohe cou­ple Cyn­thia and Garry Mo­ran know about the risk of dog at­tacks in their town.

They live in the same street as 95-year-old Jim Mor­gan, whose beloved com­pan­ion Sandy was eu­thanased last month af­ter he was at­tacked by a pack of six dogs while he and his owner were tak­ing their daily walk. (This time Sandy has died, De­cem­ber 18.)

On Thurs­day evening it was the Mo­rans and their el­derly choco­late labrador Lex who were the vic­tims of an at­tack, on the Twin Coast Cy­cle Trail in Kaikohe.

“We were qui­etly walk­ing along the cy­cle trail with dear old Lex when a nasty-look­ing staffy-cross pig dog-type ap­peared,” Mrs Mo­ran said.

“It had been fol­low­ing an­other lo­cal lady down Man­gakahia Rd, and she was try­ing to shoo it away as she en­tered the trail gate­way, but as soon as it spot­ted Lex it was all on. Poor old Lexy fought for her life, and Garry had to use his alka­thene walk­ing stick to wal­lop the dog over and over and over. It would re­lease its grip then go in for an­other at­tack.”

Her hus­band was been fit and strong enough to fi­nally beat the dog off, although Mrs Mo­ran said the at­tack went on for six to eight min­utes.

The cou­ple made im­me­di­ate con­tact with a Far North Dis­trict Coun­cil dog ranger, who she said did his best to find the dog, but was un­suc­cess­ful.

“It would have been ideal if they could have come right away, as the dog was still there when we left, hid­ing in the grass wait­ing for the next vic­tim, rather than the given hour they ar­rive on the job,” she added how­ever.

Coun­cil spokesman Ken Lewis said an an­i­mal man­age­ment of­fi­cer re­sponded within min­utes of the 6.45pm call. A lack of cell­phone re­cep­tion pre­vented him from im­me­di­ately con­tact­ing the Mo­rans, but he went to the area in­di­cated by the ini­tial call within 10-15 min­utes. He searched for the dog for about 1km along ei­ther side of the Carey Rd trail en­trance, be­fore manag­ing to con­tact the Mo­rans about 8pm and got a more ex­act lo­ca­tion.

He car­ried out an­other search, but did not find the dog.

Mrs Mo­ran said she had also called 111 for the po­lice, who told her that it was noth­ing to do with them.

“I guess you have to have a limb ripped off be­fore they are in­ter­ested,” she said.

True to her breed, Lex was not an ag­gres­sive dog, but had fought back when she was at­tacked. Mrs Mo­ran had feared that she or her hus­band might “go down too”, how­ever, “and who knows what might have hap­pened then?”

She also asked, for the umpteenth time, why the coun­cil was not deal­ing with Kaikohe’s “feral” dogs.

“We fear the worst will hap­pen, and they will have blood on their hands,” she said.

Mean­while, Lex ap­peared to be okay. Her flesh had not been torn but she had suf­fered a num­ber of punc­ture wounds to one shoul­der.

On Satur­day night the cou­ple had an­other close call while walk­ing on Kaikohe’s main street, head­ing for the cy­cle trail, with Lex on a leash and at heel, Mrs Mo­ran say­ing a large staffy-type dog pushed its way through a very low fence, where a pal­ing was miss­ing. There was no gate on the prop­erty.

“I screamed ‘No!’ to alert the dog owner and my hus­band, who had not no­ticed the dog com­ing straight to­wards him and Lex,” she said.

“We im­me­di­ately ran across the road, try­ing to put space be­tween us, as it was ob­vi­ous the dog had sim­i­lar in­ten­tions as the one we had en­coun­tered two nights be­fore. A per­son who was in the house came out on the deck and called the dog back on to the prop­erty, which is not dog-proof by any stretch of the imag­i­na­tion.

“If he is the dog owner it seems he is com­pletely un­aware of his obli­ga­tion to keep it un­der con­trol at all times.

“We have been told by the FNDC that there would be a door to door check by the dog rangers,” she added.

“If that is the case, why are these peo­ple be­ing per­mit­ted to con­tinue to al­low their dogs to rush at peo­ple and not have them con­fined ei­ther by a re­straint or dog proof fence?”

PIC­TURES/SUP­PLIED

Lex tak­ing shel­ter be­hind Garry Mo­ran as the dog moves in to at­tack. In­set: The dog that at­tacked a labrador in Kaikohe last week, pos­si­bly await­ing its next “vic­tim”.

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