John is a senior reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

Death toll mounts from marauding Tauranga dog

A dead mud-covered sheep lies beside other victims of a dog attack at Bellevue on Saturday night. Photo/George Novak
A dead mud-covered sheep lies beside other victims of a dog attack at Bellevue on Saturday night. Photo/George Novak

The death toll from a marauding dog has reached 28 sheep in eight days, with Tauranga City Council mounting extra patrols and offering dog traps to concerned residents.

''We are very concerned,'' said animal services team leader Brent Lincoln in response to the latest frenzied attack which left eight sheep dead in a paddock from wounds inflicted by a dog.

Only one animal survived the night attack on the flock owned by Murray Davis, whose 1.3ha property off Bellevue Rd featured a gully where tame sheep kept the grass down.

Mr Davis' son, Glyn, was rung by council animal control staff yesterday after a neighbour of his father's property spotted the dead sheep on Sunday. His father was away when the attack happened.

It was the second attack on the flock that once numbered 15 sheep - the first half-dozen were killed six days earlier.

''Someone has to know what is going on because the dog would be coming home covered in blood,'' Glyn Davis said.

The attack on the Davis family's stock followed the destruction of 14 sheep belonging to Bellevue couple Ann and Basil Graeme overnight on Friday, November 18.

Murray Davis' property and the Graemes' Princess Rd paddock were about 1km apart and accessible to a dog roaming along Gordon Carmichael Reserve.

Mr Davis strongly suspected that the same dog was behind all three attacks.

''It's a harsh way to die,'' he said looking at where the sheep carcasses were gathered up under the shade of bushes, awaiting removal.

His father had run the sheep for years and they were so tame that he was able to hand-feed them from a basket.

Mr Davis said the family had been pretty lucky with its stock. There had been one dog attack a long time ago followed by a cow being mauled by a pit bull terrier 10 years ago.

A farmer has offered to take the Davis' one surviving sheep and bury the eight carcases.

''It's not a good way to start the week.''

Mr Lincoln said it was likely to be the same dog because the attacks had happened in the same area.

They had received some information from the public following the attack on the Graemes' sheep but follow-up inquiries with owners had been unable to confirm it was the dog they were looking for.

He urged people to contact the council as soon as they saw a roaming dog in that general area of the city, and to take a photo of the animal if possible.

Mr Lincoln said a dog that attacked sheep would be unlikely to turn on a human. ''We can't rule it out, but it's unlikely.''

Dogs were motivated by the smell and movement of stock, and generally there was no correlation between a dog that attacked stock and a dog that attacked people.

The attack on the Graemes' flock was regarded by Mr Lincoln as the worst for many years in Tauranga.


Recent high-profile animal deaths from dogs:
May-August: Two sheep and two lambs killed on Welcome Bay farm
September 11: Young fur seal mauled to death on Pukehina Beach
November 18: 14 sheep killed on Princess Rd property, Bellevue
November 20: Six sheep killed on Bellevue Rd property
November 26: Eight sheep killed on Bellevue Rd property

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