Dog's attack at Tauranga park still traumatises family

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A family haunted by nightmares after witnessing the horrific mauling of their puppy in a local park have a warning for other dog owners.

Chelles McIntosh and her daughter Lian Hobbs, 15, are still traumatised after seeing one of their dogs being viciously attacked in Yatton Park in Parkvale, Tauranga 11 days ago.

Bystanders made desperate efforts to save the six-month old Pomeranian from the attack by a larger dog - believed to a German Shepherd cross - even trying to tackle the larger dog and prise its mouth open.

Tragically the puppy Fizzgig, who was part owned by Ms McIntosh and vet nurse Meg Fryar, later died.

Following the savaging of the puppy at the park Ms McIntosh was speaking out to warn dog owners to keep their dogs under control.

''You've got to make sure you keep your dog under control and on a lead until you are 100 per cent sure your dog is okay around cars, trucks, bikes, skateboards, babies, big dogs, little dogs, medium dogs, whatever - you've got to be confident that the dog is bulletproof.''

Ms McIntosh, owner of Puppy Love Dog Training, had been in the park with a dog-owning client, Lian, a friend, McKenzie-Lee Dackers, 8, Fizzgig and Ms McIntosh's chihuahua Benicio.

"We were just finishing up our appointment and so the kids were allowed to come and join in on saying goodbye, and all of a sudden this big dog rushed in and grabbed Benicio [the chihuahua],'' said Ms McIntosh.

''The eight-year-old managed to get him up into her arms and out of the dog's mouth and I took the chihuahua off her.

''Then I turned around and the dog dived in a grabbed Fizzgig and took off and shook him violently two or three times.''

Several people tackled the bigger dog, which Ms McIntosh believed was a german shepherd cross, and forced its mouth open.

''Fizzgig was 1.6kg and this dog would have been easily close to 30kg, if not more. He didn't stand a chance.''

Then it was just a rush to the vet where Ms Fryar was waiting.

''He had X-rays and was checked over, so was Benicio. They showed me the X-rays and basically his insides were just mush.''

Fizzgig was put on an IV, but later had a seizure and died.

''The girls were just a mess, an absolute mess, and my 15 year old is still having nightmares because all she can see is Fizzgig being taken off and shaken, and I'm still having those nightmares as well.''

Ms McIntosh and Ms Fryar have yet to report the incident.

Tauranga City Council animal services manager Brent Lincoln confirmed that while he was aware of the incident, it had not been reported to the council.

He said he was unable to look at the possibility of taking action unless a complaint was received.

Mr Lincoln said records are kept in relation to attacks by dogs on other domestic animals - not specifically attacks on other dogs.

"It's mostly on dogs and poultry with possibly the odd (attack on a) cat too," he said.

There were 16 attacks reported in July, 11 in August and 13 in September.

Options for action depended on each circumstance.

"If there's enough evidence to say a particular dog owner is the offender because they haven't controlled their dog adequately, we can give them anything from a written warning to a $300 fine, through to a precaution or classify their dog as menacing or dangerous," he said. "It really depends on the seriousness of the incident, the history of the dog and the dog owner."

He admits than in some circumstances it can be difficult to identity a dog's owner.

"Social media actually works quite well and we can say to the person, if you can find (the owner) let us know.

''If it's safe to do so, take a photo of the dog or the person, if you can see what vehicle they have come from or go to get a vehicle registration - anything like that can help us identify who the person is.''

Identifying roaming dogs isn't always easy.

''But quite often we do know the dogs in neighbourhoods so a photograph of the dog's really helpful.''

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