A 95-year-old Northland man who had to have his best friend put down after his dog Sandy was attacked and savaged by six other dogs, wants people who allow their dogs to attack other people and pets automatically prosecuted.

Jim Morgan, from Kaikohe, is in mourning after his long-time canine companion Sandy had to be put down yesterday after the pair were attacked by six dogs in the town on Sunday morning.

It was initially hoped that Sandy would survive the attack, but need to have a leg amputated, but he had to be put down, leaving Morgan deeply upset. He's had Sandy for at least 12 years.

Far North District Council General Manager - District Services Dean Myburg said it is dog owners who have the sole responsibility for keeping their pets under control and where they fail to do this, they will be prosecuted.

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Morgan, who lives on Harold Ave in Kaikohe, was a short distance from home on Sunday morning when Sandy was set upon by six large dogs.

They 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. He was able to farewell his 'best friend' yesterday and said people who allowed their dogs to attack other people and pets should be prosecuted.

"They know damn well dogs are supposed to be on a lead. There were six of them, and with that type of dog you don't stand a chance," Morgan said.

His neighbour Cynthia Moran, who was one of the first on the scene when he and Sandy were attacked has been complaining to the Far North District Council about packs of dogs roaming in the area for at least the past 12 years and now Sandy had paid the ultimate price.

Moran said it was just a matter of time before somebody was killed if more was not done about roaming dogs in Kaikohe.

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Myburg expressed his condolences to Morgan.

''I am appalled that both he and his much loved companion Sandy have again been attacked by wandering dogs on Harold Ave. I am very sad to learn that this time Sandy has not survived the attack,'' he said.

''Animal Management officers are investigating and will be speaking to Morgan and neighbours soon to gain a full picture of Sunday's incident and to locate the dogs involved.

"This investigation will determine what happens next. Options include destroying dogs we know were involved in the attack and prosecuting the owner.''

Myburg said Animal Management Officers regularly patrol areas in Kaikohe including Harold Ave.

''In October, we began random door-to-door dog registration checks across the district.

"These checks will continue for the rest of the financial year. The council is also working to encourage responsible dog ownership through events such as the Nga Kuri Auau days which microchip and neuter dogs for free,'' he said.

■ Once again Jim Morgan faces a hefty vet bill. Anyone who would like to help him pay it is invited to drop their donation off at the Northern Advocate offices in Kerikeri or 88 Roberts St, Whangārei, the Northland Age office, 156 Commerce St, Kaitaia, or at Bay of Islands Vets in Kerikeri. Anyone who can identify the owner of the dogs that attacked Sandy can call the Kaikohe police on (09) 405-2960 or FNDC animal control on 0800 920-029.