Two dogs have been surrendered by their owner and will be destroyed, after mauling sheep and poultry in the Bay of Islands.
It is at least the fifth such attack on Waipapa West Rd, off State Highway 10 north of Kerikeri, since December 2018. One resident has given up keeping sheep, while others have said they are afraid to let their children play outside.
Dogs thought to have come from the same address have previously been seized by the Far North District Council, some being neutered and returned, and others destroyed. The council says it had no choice but to return dogs after some past attacks because there was no proof they were responsible.
This time, however, witnesses were able to identify the animals involved, described as tan-coloured, terrier-type dogs.
The latest incident occurred on August 1, the council reporting that one sheep and one duck were attacked. Both survived, although the duck required veterinary treatment. However, the 'Northern Advocate' has spoken to another Waipapa West Rd resident who lost a ewe in lamb, and two more whose chickens were killed.
Cathy Jones, who lost seven sheep in a grisly attack in June last year, and eight the previous December, lost one of her chickens. She said she was relieved that she had given up keeping sheep, even though it meant she had now had to spend a lot of time mowing her property.
''Otherwise I'd be burying sheep again,'' she said.
The man whose sheep was killed lost a ewe and six chickens three weeks earlier.
The dogs are understood to have come from a property on SH10.
Council environmental services manager Rochelle Deane said two dogs had been surrendered by their owner for destruction. Once the investigation was complete animal management staff would decide whether to take any further action.
She confirmed the latest attack was related to earlier incidents.
After one of those incidents, in June 2019, the dog owner was fined for not controlling his dogs and for breaching an earlier control order. His dogs were classified as menacing, and were neutered. Fencing on his property was inspected, with upgrades checked by animal management officers.
The owner had been co-operative and had taken responsibility for his dogs' actions.
Given there was no proof directly linking the dogs to the June 2019 attack the council did all it could at that time under the legislation, Deane said, "However, this latest incident demonstrates that even a moment's lapse can lead to dogs roaming and attacking stock. Owners must keep their dogs under control at all times."