Roaming dogs savage alpacas in night raid

By Ilona Hanne

"Tie your dogs up at night" begs Diane Lehmann who has seen firsthand the damage roaming dogs can cause.

On Saturday, June 1 Diane, and her husband Daryl, were woken by noises on their property at 3am.

Daryl looked out of the window "and he said, 'two of the girls are down'," recalls Diane, adding that they went outside to investigate and found two of their alpacas were badly wounded "from two or three dogs attacking them, their hindquarters and back were a mess".

Daryl and Diane tended to the animals, but within half an hour, both had died. "Even if they hadn't, they wouldn't have been able to stand again," says Diane, adding that all four legs of both alpacas were "completely destroyed" by the dogs, as were their rear ends.

The other two alpacas that had been in the paddock with them had escaped the attack by jumping the fence, says Diane, adding that had they not done so, she suspects all four would have been killed.

Kieran Best, dog control officer for Stratford District Council, says such attacks are "few and far between", with the last reported incident in September last year.

The Lehmanns are taking no chances that it will happen to them again, and are investing in deer fencing for the property. Diane says the fencing is expensive, "but then, so are the alpacas, and there is no price on the emotional attachment we have to our animals".

They have also put up signs warning they will shoot roaming dogs on the property.

"We have had no problems with dogs before, but we are not going to allow this to happen again."

Kieran says that under the Dog Control Act 1996, the Lehmanns are within their rights to do so as owners of stock or poultry.

Soon after the attack, the Lehmanns called Stratford District Council to report it to dog control. The call went to Armourguard which covers night and weekend shifts for dog control, and its officer came out to investigate; however, the dogs were long gone.

Kieran reminds dog owners of their responsibilities to ensure dogs are confined or under direct control from half an hour after sunset each day until half an hour before sunrise the next day. He says dogs can cover a large area and travel long distances across country when on the loose.

- Stratford Press

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