Kurt Bayer

Kurt Bayer is an APNZ reporter based in Christchurch.

Attack dog owners had been warned

File photo / NZ Herald
File photo / NZ Herald

Owners of two rottweilers who mauled an 8-year-old boy last weekend had been warned by animal control officers just days earlier to keep the dogs locked up.

Christchurch City Council's animal control team had received a complaint that the dogs had been roaming in Linfield Park, Bromley, on August 3.

The rottweilers got out of their backyard that day after a ball had been kicked into their property and a player had jumped over the fence to get it back, gone through a gate and left it open.

Leon van Wyk heard dogs barking and turned round to see them pounce on 4-year-old Roy Wilson.

"They pinned him to the ground and, seriously, dragged him along the ground like a doll," Mr van Wyk said.

Roy was saved from severe injuries by wearing a thick jersey and jacket.

He's now terrified of dogs, and his parents, Walt and Jennifer Wilson, are angry the near miss didn't serve as a stark warning the dogs' owners.

The complaint to the Council's animal control team was made by Mr Wilson, 37, who had been playing rugby when spectators saved his son from the dogs.

He was unaware the dogs had grabbed hold of his son's arm, pinned him to the ground and dragged him "like a doll".

Nonetheless he angrily approached the owners about controlling their dangerous dogs, and phoned dog control who did the same.

If he had known exactly how close his son had come to injury, he says he would have pushed the owners harder - and possibly even phoned police.

"If my son had been put in hospital, I'd be facing charges for killing two dogs and I'd have saved that [8-year-old] boy from being mauled."

After the August 3 incident the Rudd Rd owners were told by animal control to padlock their gate, which they immediately did.

But on Saturday, 8-year-old Mason Bennett was set upon by the same dogs, which belonged to his family, after he took them out through the gate. He was tossed into the air during the attack, witnessed by his stepsister.

He has already undergone surgery, and needs more plastic surgery for bite wounds to his head, face and leg.

The dogs were destroyed last night (Mon) on family orders.

A Christchurch City Council spokeswoman confirmed they had received a complaint concerning the August 3 incident.

But they had not received reports of an attack and were still investigating the case when the latest incident happened.

"The dogs were chased away by spectators. As far as the animal control officer was concerned, no one had seen an attack on anybody. There were no witnesses reported to us," the spokeswoman said.

"The complainant said he would pass on the animal control person's phone number to any witnesses he came across.

"In the meantime, the animal control officer tracked down the owners and asked them to secure or padlock the gate so people couldn't open it even if they did go over the fence, which they [the owners] did straight away.

"The animal control officer phoned the complainant not long ago, and no witnesses had yet come forward. That's why the case was still open."

A decision on whether anyone would be charged was still "a week or two away", Inspector Derek Erasmus said.

Claims that the two dogs had attacked a small child in the same place earlier in the month would also be looked at during the investigation, he said.

A spokeswoman for Canterbury District Health Board said they could not provide a condition update because Mason's family had asked for "complete privacy".

- APNZ

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