Carolina's dad challenges minister

By Elizabeth Binning

Carolina Anderson, who was attacked in 2003 when she was 7, pictured with her father John Anderson last year. Photo / Doug Sherring
Carolina Anderson, who was attacked in 2003 when she was 7, pictured with her father John Anderson last year. Photo / Doug Sherring

John Anderson, whose daughter Carolina was savagely mauled in 2003, believes it is time for New Zealanders to question why children are still being maimed by dogs.

Speaking out following the latest string of dog attacks Mr Anderson said it was always difficult to hear of yet another child being injured.

"I just feel immense compassion for the people and their families. It does inevitably bring your own experience back as well.

"When there is a spate of dog attacks then of course you think about the dog control measures and inevitably the media is in touch and talking about it which is a good thing."

His daughter, who is now 17 and about to start Year 12 at school, is doing well and has recently completed the "main tranche of surgery", which included more than 10 operations since the horrific attack in a Westmere park.

There is still the option of cosmetic surgery for scarring and to her nose, but in general she has adjusted well to life since the attack.

"She's a very well adjusted young woman and I think her personality is such that she doesn't let it get in the way of her life and activities.

"She's a very good allrounder and is involved in sports and dance and all the usual things ..."

Mr Anderson said there were several positive law changes as a result of Carolina's attack, including giving dog control officers and councils the power to seize dogs without the owners' permission.

But, there were still things that needed to be done, especially in relation to the kinds of dogs that seem to keep being involved in attacks on children such as the pit bull and staffie cross.

"Why is it that children continue to be maimed like this? It's a question we all have to ask and decide whether it's acceptable. I don't think it's acceptable."

He is challenging Local Government Minister Nick Smith to look at the breeds responsible for the attacks and consider banning them or introducing stronger controls.

- NZ Herald

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