Dog attack victim still suffering

By Christine McKay

Dannevirke's Paddy Mullholland remains scared and upset after being attacked by a dog on this street. Photo / Christine McKay
Dannevirke's Paddy Mullholland remains scared and upset after being attacked by a dog on this street. Photo / Christine McKay

More than a month after a dog attack on him and his papillon dog Peedee, Dannevirke's Paddy Mullholland is still traumatised and angry.

"I'm scared still to go out the door, it's been bloody terrible," Mr Mullholland said.

"I still think I haven't had a fair go as far as the Tararua District Council is concerned and I was so upset to find out the dog had been returned to its owner before I was notified."

Mr Mullholland began counselling last Thursday and said while his physical injuries have healed, the attack constantly plays on his mind.

"I'm a mental wreck. To be honest, I can't take much more. It's not what the attack has done to my body, that's bad enough, but what it's done to my head."

Mr Mullholland said he was told by council staff his injuries weren't serious enough to have the dog which attacked put down.

"Well, I did my scone and was asked to leave the council building," he said. "I was left with my hands bitten, a bruised head, black eye and injuries to my leg and shoulder - a rotar cuff sprain - while trying to protect my little dog from the attack. How can they say those aren't serious injuries?

"I went to the police too and was told there was nothing they could do as it is a civil matter between the council and me."

Mr Mullholland's daughter Christine, who lives in Hawke's Bay, said her father was still upset by what had happened.

"This dog attack has left my 79-year-old father very traumatised. He's frail, unsteady on his feet and very vulnerable," she said.

Christine said she'd sent an email to Tararua District mayor Roly Ellis expressing the family's disappointment at the council's decision to return the offending dog to its owner and asked what right of appeal they had.

"We are concerned that although the owners of the dog are considered to be responsible in the council's opinion, the dog escaped from a fenced property," she said. "It got out through a hole in the fence it (the dog) had made, without the owners knowing. How can anyone guarantee this will not happen again?

In our opinion, and we are dog lovers, we think the offending dog should be destroyed, for the safety of the community."

Cameron Tait, the animal control officer for the Tararua District Council, had previously told the Dannevirke News although there was a lot of emotion surrounding this case, he had to deal with the facts.

"I've had to work with the law and a very specific set of legislation when investigating an attack such as this," he said.

Left with no avenue of appeal, Mr Mullholland decided to take things into his own hands, placing signs on his fence warning of a dangerous dog in the area. He later removed the signs.

He also purchased a cattle prodder for $165, but after checking with police decided against using it as he faced the possibility of being charged with use of a dangerous weapon.

Bob Dunn, the Tararua District Council's regulatory services manager had informed Mr Mullholland the dog is now classified as dangerous and animal control officers would be regularly monitoring to ensure the owners continued to be compliant.

Mr Dunn said under the requirements of the Animal Control Act there was no justification for council to proceed with a prosecution and seeking to have the dog destroyed.

Mr Mullholland said he's still trying to fight that decision, but realises taking legal action is beyond him.

"I've lived in New Zealand for 65 years and paid a heck of a lot of tax and for them (council) to treat me this way is appalling," he said.

Victim Support have contacted Mr Mullholland and put him in touch with a Palmerston North lawyer and he's also put his case to Wairarapa MP John Hayes, but has had no reply.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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