The stitches are gone but the scars are still evident on both Jim Morgan and his canine companion Sandy.

The Kaikohe duo were out walking on Harold Ave 18 days ago when Mr Morgan was bowled over by an American pitbull terrier who attacked him and Sandy as they lay on the ground. Since then they have been recuperating at home, just as the Far North District Council announced it is taking a tougher stance on irresponsible dog owners in light of recent attacks.

Sandy, tended to by Jim, shortly after the attack. Photo / Michael Cunningham
Sandy, tended to by Jim, shortly after the attack. Photo / Michael Cunningham

On Monday Sandy had the stitches removed from numerous dog bites over his body while 92-year-old Mr Morgan had stitches in his left hand removed last week.

Mr Morgan can't wait to get back out walking in his neighbourhood.


Council general manager of district services Dean Myburgh said while the number of dog attacks in the Far North was not on the rise, any number of attacks was too many and they would be taking a tough line with prosecutions.

"Council is determined to keep the public safe and will use all means available under the Dog Control Act and other legislation to do this."

Mr Myburgh said the council would vigourously pursue taking offending dog owners to court but they would need the help of the public to supply them with quality evidence they required to take cases to court.

Currently the council seizes dogs, issues infringement notices, prosecutes owners and destroys dogs where appropriate.

Mr Myburgh said people should be able to go about their business without being fearful of dogs.

"Most dog owners are responsible and take seriously the tasks of feeding, nurturing and exercising their animals. They also keep their dogs secured and ensure they are not roaming, thereby avoiding risk to people and other animals."

In a recent court case, an Opononi dog owner was convicted in the Kaikohe District Court after their dog attacked another animal. The council went to court after the attack in February left a dog with injuries that required stitches and surgery under local anaesthetic.

The owner was fined $500 and ordered to pay $1110 in reparation to the owner of the dog that was attacked. An order for the destruction of the offending dog, an unregistered Rottweiler, was made by the court.

Mr Myburgh said education was also part of the longer term plan to reduce dog attacks.

Meanwhile, Mr Morgan was overwhelmed with the support he had had since he made the news.

"I'd like to thank everyone who has helped Sandy and me. I don't even know most of them," he told the Northern Advocate.

His latest gift was a whistle from a woman in Maungaturoto who sent it with the advice to keep it round his neck out walking and blow it if he met another attacking dog.

He said Sandy was jumping around: "You'd never know he'd had such a tough time."