Dog and owner attacked in Kaitaia

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A 61-year-old Auckland woman has complained to the police and the Far North District Council after she and her dog were bitten by a dog in Kaitaia on Friday.

The incident began when Jack, a Welsh terrier that his owner (who did not wish to be identified) had secured inside a property, squeezed through a gate and ran across the street. The owner of that property exploded in rage, she said, telling her that if she did not remove her dog his dogs would attack it.

She repeatedly attempted to do so, but the man deliberately obstructed her, she said. Jack, who was cowering under a trailer, would emerge in response to her call, the man placing himself between him and his owner and attempting to kick him, sending him scurrying back under the trailer.

"He was telling me that if his dogs got loose they would attack Jack. I tried to calm him down, telling him that I just wanted to take Jack and leave, but he wouldn't let me. I was frightened of him, but I couldn't walk away because he wouldn't let me get to my dog," she said.

When she turned away for a moment to apologise to a woman who emerged from the house some minutes after the confrontation began the man allegedly opened a gate at the side of the house and let one of his dogs out. It immediately took Jack by one leg, pinning him on his back on the ground. It released the terrier momentarily when the victim picked her dog up, bit her on the left forearm then resumed its hold on her dog.

The dog's owner took it by the head to force it to release its grip but could not do so. Eventually the woman emerged from the house with a contraption that she used to pump water into its nostrils, forcing it to release its grip.

"By that stage I think the owner had begun to realise that the situation was getting out of hand," the victim said, "but he couldn't do anything about it. He had absolutely no control over his dog. The woman knew exactly what to do though, which suggests that she had done it before."

She got her dog to Far North Vets, one of the staff there calling the police.

Vets confirmed Jack had no broken bones but had suffered extensive soft tissue damage, while his owner was delivered to Kaitaia Hospital by police. Her wound was cleaned and she was discharged. She spent the night with friends and returned to Auckland the next day, several days earlier than she had planned.

"I just want to get out of Kaitaia," she said. She was very grateful, however, for the way Far North Vets staff had cared for her and her dog, and for the empathy and support she received from real estate firm Ray White.

Neither the police nor the council were able to indicate yesterday what action might be taken.

- Northland Age

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