The couple who stood up for a 95-year-old Kaikohe man whose pet was killed by wandering dogs have now themselves been attacked by a stray dog.
Cynthia Moran and her husband Garry have been helping neighbour Jim Morgan since his best mate, a fox terrier cross named Sandy, had to be put down after it was savaged by six dogs on Harold Ave about two weeks ago.
But now their own pet, an ageing chocolate lab named Lex, almost suffered the same fate. Moran said their pet survived only because her husband had repeatedly beaten the attacker off with a walking stick.
The incident has prompted the couple to renew their call for tougher action by the Far North District Council against wandering dogs.
About 7pm on Thursday the Morans were walking on the Twin Coast Cycle Trail near Kaikohe — where dogs are permitted on a leash — when a staffordshire-cross went straight for Lex.
''It was biting her all over her shoulders. My husband had to whack it in the ribs with his walking stick until it let go, but it kept coming back. It would've killed Lex. I screamed at it, thinking that might make it go away, but it only looked at me as if it was saying, 'you're next'.''
It only gave up when, after the third attack, they came to a cattle grid and it got stuck long enough for her husband to take another swing.
The attack on Lex did not draw blood but it was frightening, Moran said.
The dog, which had no collar, had followed another resident from Mangakahia Rd, despite her attempts to shoo it away.
''Why will the council not clean up the town of these feral dogs? We fear the worst will happen and they'll have blood on their hands.''
This time the Morans' call to the council after-hours hotline was passed on, but the hour's delay before a ranger was able to contact her was enough for the dog to escape.
Council spokesman Ken Lewis said an animal management officer responded within minutes of the 6.45pm call.
Due to a lack of cellphone reception he could not immediately contact the complainant, but went to the area indicated by the initial call within 10-15 minutes.
He searched for the dog for about 1km along either side of the Carey Rd trail entrance.
The officer managed to contact the complainant about 8pm and got a more exact location of the incident. He carried out another search but the dog was not located.