Jim Morgan knows how dangerous the streets of Kaikohe can be.

He and his best mate, his little dog Sandy, have been attacked by dogs three times as they've taken their twice-daily walks, including one attack in 2016 that left both man and dog needing treatment for serious wounds.

At 8.30 on Sunday morning it happened again.

This time Sandy was set upon by a pack of six dogs, believed by Mr Morgan to be pig dogs, suffering a wound that was initially thought would cost him his left hind leg. Yesterday it cost him his life.

Dog attack on Jim Morgan, 95, and his dog Sandy.
Dog attack on Jim Morgan, 95, and his dog Sandy.

Mr Morgan, a 95-year-old widower, most of whose family live in Australia, wasn't far from his Harold Ave home when the dogs, which were apparently being exercised by a man riding a quad bike, seized Sandy by his shoulder and left back leg. Mr Morgan was knocked to the ground.

His physical injuries were limited to bruising; worse was his distress at seeing what had been done to his sole companion.

"I was nearly home when around the corner came this big farm bike followed by half a dozen of what I believe were pig dogs. All of a sudden they took to Sandy and I got knocked over," he said.

Dog attack on Jim Morgan, 95, and his dog Sandy.
Dog attack on Jim Morgan, 95, and his dog Sandy.

What happened next wasn't clear, but the man on the quad bike rode off, his dogs following, without checking or helping Mr Morgan or Sandy. A Harold Ave resident who heard the commotion, but was unable to help, called another neighbour, Cynthia Moran.

"By the time my husband got there the dogs had gone and Jim had got himself up. We took him home, called police and animal control, then took them to the after-hours vet in Kerikeri," Mrs Moran said, urging anyone who knew who owned the dogs, or a blue quad bike with a tray, to call the police or council.

The man had been seen in the area before, she said, so was obviously local.

"It's not fair that an old man, minding his own business and getting a bit of exercise, can't take his dog for a walk safely. It's distressing to see. Jim lives for his dog; his wife's deceased and he has no family up here."

Veterinarian Brian Cook said Sandy had a leg fracture with multiple bone fragments. Given his age, and the difficulty of repairing such a fracture, amputation was the best option.


Surgery was scheduled for today, and Sandy would probably go home tomorrow. But that won't happen.

Mr Cook initially expected the little dog to cope well on three legs, and that he and Mr Morgan would be able to resume their daily walks, but yesterday the decision was to euthanase him, given the physical difficulties he was expected to face.

Mr Morgan, who was able to farewell his friend yesterday, said people who allowed their dogs to attack other people and pets should be prosecuted.

"They know damn well dogs are supposed to be on a lead. There were six of them, and with that type of dog you don't stand a chance," he said.

Meanwhile, Mrs Moran said she had called the district council days earlier to report that stray dogs were "accumulating" again. They had found four dogs on their front lawn early one morning.

"We were told there would be a house-to-house check in the near future. As far as we know we haven't had one in our street," she added.


The council contacted Mrs Moran yesterday, and arranged to go with her to meet Mr Morgan.