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Dog attack: 'They just kept coming at me'

By Amy McGillivray

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A dog that attacked a female runner has been described as a menace by nearby residents who claim to have laid numerous complaints about its behaviour.

Stephanie Brebner, 41, was out running about 9.30am yesterday when she noticed two dogs, described as shar pei cross breeds, on a Fifteenth Ave property.

"Both of them ran straight at me. I got quite a fright and I turned my body to them and the dark one just leapt up and bit me on the upper thigh."

The same dog then bit her on the calf.

"I backed up against the wall and hid in the bushes. They just kept coming at me. I just kept kicking them away. I just kept kicking them and kicking them and screaming."

She said the dogs' owners eventually heard the commotion and came out to pull them away.

The attack left her with four puncture wounds to her upper thigh and a deep wound on her lower leg.

Fifteenth Ave resident Sonya Croft said she and other neighbours complained to Tauranga City Council about the dogs and believed it was only a matter of time before someone got hurt.

The attack comes after three dogs mauled two cats to death in Welcome Bay on Saturday.

Ms Croft found Ms Brebner lying on the road crying.

"She was absolutely hysterical. She was crying. All she wanted was her husband," Ms Croft said.

She went to Ms Brebner's aid and called her husband who came to get her and took her to the hospital.

"The bite on her calf was pretty gnarly. It was bleeding and it was already bruising," she said.

Ms Croft said she and other neighbours had laid numerous complaints about the two dogs.

Last weekend one of the dogs got out attacked another dog, she said.

"It just makes me so angry the amount of times we complain to the council and the SPCA and they just pass it off and now it's escalated to a human," Ms Croft said. "My son can't even ride his bike down here. People can't even walk their dogs down here."

Ms Croft said she was terrified the dogs would get over her fence and into the yard and hurt her 2-year-old son or her two dogs.

She called the police and the council soon after the attack.

Nearby resident Madeline Miller also heard Ms Brebner screaming and went out to see what was happening.

"I rushed out and looked up the road and this lady was lying on the ground," she said.

"It's really affected me. It really upset me ... It could have been my grandkids."

Tauranga City Council animal control manager Brent Lincoln said one of his staff members had since spoken to Ms Brebner and been to the property to speak to the owner of the dogs.

The dog that bit the victim remained at the property yesterday.

Mr Lincoln said the owner had agreed to secure the dog until a decision about its future could be made.

It was likely a decision would be made today.

He confirmed the dog was a shar pei cross and said that type of dog was bred primarily as a fighting dog.

He said the dog could be seized and the owners prosecuted, the owner could give up the dog or it could be classified as a dangerous dog in which case a judge could order it to be destroyed.

The investigation would determine if the other dog had also rushed at Ms Brebner or if it was simply out roaming.

Either way a warning or a fine could be given to the owners.

Mr Lincoln said the dogs were registered but he was unaware of previous complaints about the particular dogs.

He said there had been complaints about another dog at the property but its owners had voluntarily shipped that dog out of Tauranga, he said.

Ms Brebner said she felt for the owners and did not want them to lose the dog they loved but she felt the dog should be put down.

"I've got two children. My son, who is 11, rides past the house to school each day and I don't want him doing that anymore. I was terrified and the only reason I didn't get more mauled was because I put my back to the wall and kicked and kicked and kicked. My son couldn't do that."

The owners of the dogs did not want to comment yesterday.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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