Owner pays $1600 vet bill after dog attack

By Amy McGillivray

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Molly the cat is one of the lucky ones.

She was mauled by a dog but after major surgery and a week-long hospitalisation she is on the mend.

News of Molly's attack follows reports of three dogs that killed two cats in Welcome Bay on Saturday and a dog that bit a female runner in Fifteenth Avenue on Tuesday.

Vet Care Tauranga director Gary Ball operated on Molly, after the attack two weeks ago, and said her's was not an unusual case.

One or two mauled animals were brought to their clinics each month, he said.

"Obviously there's a bit of a run on at the moment but it's not uncommon - dog on dog, or dog on cat. When a decent-sized dog takes on a very small dog, or a cat, it's often not such a happy outcome."

Molly's situation did not initially look very hopeful, Mr Ball said. "It was touch and go at the start ... the cat had been grabbed, pinned and shaken."

She had a badly torn abdominal wall and broken ribs which had punctured her lung.

Malcolm Gordon adopted Molly from the SPCA for his son Ben when she was just 11 months old.

The family suspected something was wrong when Molly did not come home one Saturday night.

The next evening Mr Gordon found Molly hiding in a bush on a neighbour's property, injured and unable to get home.

"She had been ripped to pieces by a dog. She was alive but the vet was absolutely horrified. The dog that's got her has got her on her back and tried to rip her stomach out. It's $1600 later and she's still not there but it appears she will survive," Mr Gordon said.

"Her injuries were horrendous. If we hadn't found her she would have died."

Mr Gordon was concerned about the number of dogs he saw roaming the streets around his Gate Pa home. "You can't blame the dog. I just think the owners need to be made more answerable," he said. "I just don't think there's a severe enough penalty on the owners of dogs who allow them to basically come and go as they please."

Mr Ball believed the penalties in place were sufficient but the problem came down to proof.

While most dog owners were responsible he felt others had the attitude, "it's only wrong if you're caught", he said.

Mr Ball said pet owners could not stop cats wandering on to properties occupied by dogs but there were things they could do.

"If you know your dog has any such tendency they should be restrained on a lead or muzzled."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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