Killer dogs on the rampage

By Liz Wylie

1 comment
KILLER TRAP: Dog traps placed at Waverley properties have so far failed to catch any canines. PHOTO/BEVAN CONLEY
KILLER TRAP: Dog traps placed at Waverley properties have so far failed to catch any canines. PHOTO/BEVAN CONLEY

A spate of dog attacks has seen the killing of sheep, goats, cats and chickens in past months.

And the fear of further attacks has caused animal owners to lock up their livestock at night, while others have given up keeping animals.

There were a number of dog attacks in Waverley during April and May when animals were killed or badly injured but things had gone quiet until an attack last week left seven sheep dead or badly injured, with some later put down by the vet.

The livestock owner, who did not wish to be named, said people now had to lock their sheep in a shed at night to keep them safe.

"It is not a good way to keep grazing animals and it means having to organise supplementary feed but at least they are alive." One owner said he no longer keeps livestock on his property after losing 28 sheep in two separate attacks. Residents have been critical of South Taranaki District Council (STDC) for their perceived inaction over the attacks but a number of dogs have been put down.

Regulatory services manager Doug Scott said it was important to note that the Dog Control Act 1996 did not give the council authority to put a dog down unless it had been signed over by the owner or they are granted a destruction order by the court.

"The animal control team have managed to have five dogs suspected of attacking stock in Waverley signed over and euthanised," said Mr Scott.

"The only time a dog can be euthanised without permission from the owner or the courts is when it is required to stop an attack that is taking place.''

Co-ordinator for the community patrol group in Waverley, Laraine Sole, said the council had been doing its best to solve the problem but had to rely on public information.
"Some people are unwilling to share what they have witnessed and some owners must have seen their dogs coming home with blood on them after these attacks," she said.

Ms Sole and other members of the community patrol group drive around the community at night and have chased a number of wandering dogs home.

"For about the last three months, I haven't seen any dogs on the streets so these recent attacks must have happened in the very early hours."

Police Senior Sergeant Greg Hogan of Patea said the latest attack was being investigated.
"Police do ask anyone with information to contact us. "Alternatively, information can also be provided anonymously via the organisation Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."

- Wanganui Chronicle

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