A 95-year-old Northland man whose longtime pet dog Sandy was attacked by six dogs in Kaikohe yesterday has had to have his beloved pet put down because it could not survive its injuries.
It was initially hoped that Sandy, a fox terrier cross, could survive the attack, but would have to have a leg amputated, but the bad news is the dog was put down this morning.
Jim Morgan, who lives on Harold Ave in Kaikohe, was a short distance from home on Sunday morning when Sandy was set upon by half a dozen large dogs. The dogs seized Sandy by a rear leg and shoulder and Morgan was knocked to the ground.
The dogs were off-leash and apparently being exercised by a man riding a quad bike.
Morgan's injuries are limited to bruising where he fell on the footpath but he was distressed for Sandy, his sole companion now that his wife is dead and much of his family lives in Australia.
Morgan was devastated that Sandy had to be put down and Sandy's death will be keenly felt, his neighbour Cynthia Moran, who was one of the first on the scene when he and Sandy were attacked, said.
Moran said she had been complaining to the Far North District Council about packs of dogs roaming in the area for at least he past 12 years and now Sandy had paid the ultimate price.
She said Morgan at least got to say his goodbyes to Sandy at the vet's but he was distraught to lose his mate.
''Poor Jim. Somebody must know who the dog owner is.''
Moran said Morgan is virtually blind and Sandy was his companion.
"He lived for Sandy,'' she said.
It's not the first time Morgan and Sandy have been attacked — in April 2016 the pensioner suffered a bite wound, bruising and cuts after Sandy was attacked by a wandering dog, later identified as an American pitbull terrier and surrendered to the council.
Sandy's treatment, which included stitches to multiple wounds, was paid for by generous Advocate readers after an outpouring of support across Northland.
It's unclear what happened immediately after the latest attack — Morgan believes the quad rider pulled his dogs off Sandy, then fled without checking to see if the pair were hurt.
Another neighbour, however, claims the man took off straight away and his dogs followed.
The alarm was raised by a Harold Ave resident who heard the commotion about 8.30am.
She is disabled and was unable to help so she called another neighbour, Cynthia Moran.
''She called me to say Jim was being attacked and it was a terrible, terrible noise,'' Moran said.
''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.''
She urged anyone who knew who owned the dogs — or a blue quad bike with a tray — to call Kaikohe police or Far North District Council animal control. The owner had been seen in the area before so clearly lived locally.