An elderly woman has been hospitalised with serious injuries after being attacked by her own dog on her Kawakawa property in the Far North.

The Far North District Council is investigating the incident.

The 71-year-old was rushed to the Bay of Islands Hospital with "significant dog bites" to her leg on Friday last week before being transferred to Whangārei hospital.

A hospital spokesperson said the woman was now stable and "progressing well".


Council environmental services manager Darren Edwards confirmed the woman was attacked by her own dog at her home.

"Our animal management team is aware of the incident, which a third party reported to the council.

"The dog has been surrendered to the animal management team and it is currently at one of our animal shelters. The dog belonged to the woman who was attacked. We are waiting to speak to her so our investigation is ongoing."

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Kerikeri-based dog trainer Rebecca Roper, who owns OK K9s Dog Training, said there were a number of reasons why a dog would turn on its owner.

Dogs that were hurt could redirect that pain onto a person, she said.

Dogs that were mistreated could also lash out if pushed too far, and often owners did not recognise the signs their dog was stressed or fearful.

"That's when dogs are likely to attack, because they're afraid."


It was not breed-specific either, Roper said.

"Any dog can bite. If you look at the stats in the United States, the breed reported biting the most are Labradors. You see them as being friendly dogs but because everyone thinks they're so lovable and get in their face, they lash out."

There were 183 dog attacks in the Far North in 2018. The council said it could not give out more current figures until next week.

The council animal control unit is also investigating after a roaming dog killed a Kaikohe family's pet Labrador.

The Pedro family's dog Hunter, who was chained to his kennel, was savagely mauled to death on their property in the early hours of December 29.

A council spokesman said an animal management officer had spoken to Roberta Pedro "and an investigation is under way".

"Unfortunately, we don't have a clear description of the attacking dog, so conducting a search for the dog is difficult at this stage."

Roberta's 19-year-old daughter Aaliyah woke to the sound of dog fighting at about 5.30am and ran out on to the decking to see what the commotion was about.

By the time the family got outside, he was already dead.

The council said the owner of the roaming dog could face penalties which are set out in the Dog Control Act 1996 and include destroying the dog and a fine of up to $3000.

Dog owners without a current dog registration can be fined $300.

In June, two children were attacked by roaming dogs in Moerewa leaving an 11-year-old girl hospitalised with leg and back injuries, while the 15-year-old boy had to be treated for bites to one arm and his legs and back.

The council stepped up efforts to tackle the problem of roaming dogs in the Far North in September 2018 by introducing random dog registration checks across the district.

The programme ran from October 2018 to June 2019 in a bid to increase responsible dog ownership.