A dog that attacked a cyclist on the Twin Coast Cycle Trail earlier this month (Trail rider attacked by dog, May 12) has been put down by its owner, according to the Far North District Council.
The man claimed that he had been knocked off his bike and bitten three times by a pitbull-type dog. Passers-by stopped the attack and called an ambulance, the wounds to one leg requiring 14 stitches.
Council animal management officers visited the owner, who told them he had destroyed the dog down, a long-time family pet, environmental services manager Rochelle Deane saying the officers were satisfied that he had done so.
"This was a very unfortunate incident. While there is no doubt the dog attacked and injured the cyclist, it seems this was completely out of character. Because of its age, the owners themselves decided it was best to put the dog down," she said.
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Interviews with the owner suggested the dog had been on a leash but was startled by the passing cyclist and attacked before the owner could react, although that was disputed by witnesses, who said there was no leash. They said the owner's companion had to lead the dog away after the attack by holding on to its collar.
Ms Deane said the owner was fined for failing to control his dog and for having an unregistered dog. Another dog owned by the same man was not involved in the attack.
"Dogs must be on-leash when on the cycle trail. However, both dog owners and cyclists need to be extra careful when passing each other. Dog owners need to ensure their pet is kept close and under control, and cyclists can help by warning others when they are approaching."
An investigation into another cycle trail incident, in which a Kawakawa grandmother was injured after an off-leash dog attacked her german shepherd, is continuing.