Kaikohe couple Cynthia and Garry Moran know about the risk of dog attacks in their town.

They live in the same street as 95-year-old Jim Morgan, whose beloved companion Sandy was euthanased last month after he was attacked by a pack of six dogs while he and his owner were taking their daily walk. (This time Sandy has died, December 18.)

On Thursday evening it was the Morans and their elderly chocolate labrador Lex who were the victims of an attack, on the Twin Coast Cycle Trail in Kaikohe.

The dog that attacked a labrador in Kaikohe last week.
The dog that attacked a labrador in Kaikohe last week.

"We were quietly walking along the cycle trail with dear old Lex when a nasty-looking staffy-cross pig dog-type appeared," Mrs Moran said.

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"It had been following another local lady down Mangakahia Rd, and she was trying to shoo it away as she entered the trail gateway, but as soon as it spotted Lex it was all on.

Poor old Lexy fought for her life, and Garry had to use his alkathene walking stick to wallop the dog over and over and over. It would release its grip then go in for another attack."

Her husband was been fit and strong enough to finally beat the dog off, although Mrs Moran said the attack went on for six to eight minutes.

The couple made immediate contact with a Far North District Council dog ranger, who she said did his best to find the dog, but was unsuccessful.

"It would have been ideal if they could have come right away, as the dog was still there when we left, hiding in the grass waiting for the next victim, rather than the given hour they arrive on the job," she added however.

Council spokesman Ken Lewis said an animal management officer responded within minutes of the 6.45pm call. A lack of cellphone reception prevented him from immediately contacting the Morans, but he 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, before managing to contact the Morans about 8pm and got a more exact location.

He carried out another search, but did not find the dog.

Mrs Moran said she had also called 111 for the police, who told her that it was nothing to do with them.

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"I guess you have to have a limb ripped off before they are interested," she said.

True to her breed, Lex was not an aggressive dog, but had fought back when she was attacked. Mrs Moran had feared that she or her husband might "go down too", however, "and who knows what might have happened then?"

She also asked, for the umpteenth time, why the council was not dealing with Kaikohe's "feral" dogs.

"We fear the worst will happen, and they will have blood on their hands," she said.

Meanwhile, Lex appeared to be okay. Her flesh had not been torn but she had suffered a number of puncture wounds to one shoulder.

On Saturday night the couple had another close call while walking on Kaikohe's main street, heading for the cycle trail, with Lex on a leash and at heel, Mrs Moran saying a large staffy-type dog pushed its way through a very low fence, where a paling was missing. There was no gate on the property.

"I screamed 'No!' to alert the dog owner and my husband, who had not noticed the dog coming straight towards him and Lex," she said.

"We immediately ran across the road, trying to put space between us, as it was obvious the dog had similar intentions as the one we had encountered two nights before. A person who was in the house came out on the deck and called the dog back on to the property, which is not dog-proof by any stretch of the imagination.

"If he is the dog owner it seems he is completely unaware of his obligation to keep it under control at all times.

"We have been told by the FNDC that there would be a door to door check by the dog rangers," she added.

"If that is the case, why are these people being permitted to continue to allow their dogs to rush at people and not have them confined either by a restraint or dog proof fence?"