The owner of a dog that was caught on film attacking a New Zealand fur seal on a Canterbury beach has come forward.

The attack happened on Pines/Kairaki beach, north of Christchurch, on Tuesday. It was filmed by a member of the public.

Biodiversity ranger Anita Spencer told the Herald that after media attention today the dog's owner had contacted the Department of Conservation (DOC).

"We will be following up with the dog owner about the incident as part of our investigation.

"We wish to take this opportunity to again remind people to keep their dogs under effective control.

"Seals can be expected on our beaches at any time, however there is likely to be more seals about over spring and summer.


Spencer earlier told the Herald DOC was appealing to the public for information about the dog attack and to locate the owner.

"We want to speak to anyone who may have seen the seal being attacked, or the dog and its owner on the beach around the Pines Beach area, mid to late morning on Tuesday," Spencer said.

DOC has released footage of the attack on the seal which lasted around five minutes before the owner was finally able to control his dog, described as small and white with ginger markings.

"We realise this footage is distressing but we want people to understand how easily a dog attack on a seal can happen," Spencer said.

"The consequences are almost always bad for the seal and dogs can be bitten as well."

Last year, three seals were killed by dogs on Christchurch beaches.

"The dog in this video is clearly not under effective control and we're disappointed this is yet another dog attack on a seal," Spencer added.

"People need to be more aware that seals share our beaches with us and more vigilant in keeping their dogs under effective control. Seals regularly rest on local beaches and people need to expect them to be there."

People are asked to call the Christchurch Mahaanui DOC office +64 3 341 9100 or the 24-hour DOC hotline 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468) if they have any information about the attack, the dog or its owner.

New Zealand fur seals/kekeno are fully protected and it is dog owners' responsibility to keep their dogs under control.

DOC recommends keeping dogs on a leash in areas where there are seals present and keeping a safe distance of at least 20m away.