The owner of one of two rottweilers that attacked an autistic man in Southland yesterday says he is "devastated" someone was attacked.

The owner of the male dog, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Herald he was "devastated that the guy had been bitten" and was glad he was okay after the prolonged attack in Winton yesterday afternoon.

Oliver Beaumont, 22, was attacked while walking near his family's home on Great North Rd about 1pm.

The attack lasted at least five minutes and the victim suffered extensive bite marks to his face and puncture wounds on his arms when he was set upon by two fully grown rottweilers, one male and one female.

Advertisement

He was taken to Southland Hospital where he had surgery, and is now in a stable condition.

Oliver Beaumont was attacked by Rottweilers in Winton yesterday. Photo / Supplied
Oliver Beaumont was attacked by Rottweilers in Winton yesterday. Photo / Supplied

Bruce Halligan from Southland District Council could not confirm whether Beaumont had opened a gate and entered a property with the dog's on it.

Halligan said both dogs were now impounded at the council facility and a formal investigation was under way.

"We are in the process of gathering that information at the moment, so at this point in time I cannot give you any definitive information as to what the likely outcome of the process will be.

"The sorts of things that are relevant are establishing the facts of the situation in terms of exactly what happened, and also the attitude of the dog owners - all those things are taken into account when we are assessing the appropriate enforcement action.

"We have real sympathy for the victim and are hoping that he has a speedy recovery," he said.

A givealittle has been set up by Beaumont's aunt Amanda Colmore-Williams to help him "heal the pain " and to give him back "some quality of life".

"Funds raised will be used to help him get back on his feet and help ease the pain of his horrific ordeal," the page said.

Advertisement

The page has already received over $3000 in donations.

Rottweilers are not classified within New Zealand's menacing and dangerous dogs list; which includes American pit bull terriers, Brazilian fila, Japanese tosa, dogo argentino and perro de presa canario.

Under the Dog Control Act 1996 a person may, for the purpose of stopping an attack, seize or destroy a dog if a person is attacked by the dog; or a person witnesses the dog attacking any other person, or any stock, poultry, domestic animal, or protected wildlife.

The owner of a dog that makes an attack, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $3000 - in addition to any liability that he or she may incur for any damage caused by the attack.

If the court is satisfied that the dog has committed an attack and that the dog has not been destroyed, the court must make an order for the destruction of the dog unless it is satisfied that the circumstances of the offence were exceptional and do not warrant destruction of the dog.