A year on from attack, Stevie still wary of dogs

By Abigail Hartevelt

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Rotorua's Stevie Shipgood is hoping for a better start to 2013 after last year started with a terrifying ordeal.

Last January 22 Stevie suffered deep cuts to her head and arm after a neighbour's bulldog attacked her.

The cuts to her right arm and a wound to the right side of her head required 20 stitches.

Stevie, who was 9 at the time of the attack and has since turned 10, still doesn't like to talk much about the incident, admitting it was one of the scariest days of her short life.

The partner of the dog's owner was walking the 2-year-old dog on a lead on the afternoon of January 22.

Six children were with her, including her own and Stevie, who was bouncing a ball when the American bulldog jumped up and bit her arm and head. Stevie was taken to Rotorua Hospital.

The dog was put down a week later.

When The Daily Post caught up with Stevie the day after the attack, she was very shy and didn't want to talk.

However, when The Daily Post caught up with her recently she was more bubbly and was looking forward to the year ahead.

She showed The Daily Post the scar on her forehead and the scars on her arm and said the incident had made her more fearful of dogs, especially big dogs.

"I like some dogs. I get a bit scared around big dogs ... I get a bit frightened. I move to the closest person."

Before she goes somewhere now she always asks if there is a dog.

Stevie's mother, Lisa Maunder, said "that fear is always there" and they often asked people they visited to put their dog in another room or hold the dog.

At the time of the attack Ms Maunder, her partner Gary Shipgood, Stevie and younger brother Te Hingakawa, 5, had been renting a Tumene Dr property while they looked for a place to buy.

They have since bought a home in Coulter Rd.

Ms Maunder said she'd had a bit to do with relatives of the dog owner who had offered them support but she'd had no contact with the dog owner, who was not prosecuted.

Meanwhile, Stevie said she would like to own a dog one day although it would only be a small dog.

"I want a little dog that doesn't grow up," she said.


- Rotorua Daily Post

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