In Murupara they call Tom Oldridge "the dog man". He is dog control officer for a town where the pound is never empty and, as of a week ago, dogs can turn into killers.
He's been out on its streets since two mauled Virginia Ohlson to death last Saturday and has picked up half a dozen strays - including what he believes was a purebred pitbull roaming free.
"It was no trouble, just a stray like all the others," Mr Oldridge says.
"I grabbed it and it didn't growl or bark or nothing."
Yet, like many of Murupara's 1800 residents, Mr Oldridge seems oblivious to the dogs roaming everywhere in this forestry town.
Figures from the Whakatane District Council show that, of the 233 dogs they know about in Murupara, 34 - one in six - are not registered. And 102 have been impounded at some point since July last year.
Mr Oldridge goes about his work with little more than a choke chain.
He has been bitten at least 20 times, but says he has never actually been confronted by a dog; the bites were all a result of the dogs snapping around after he got them by the scruff of the neck.
The 61-year-old former deer culler and pig hunter says most of the young people in Murupara "don't know what they've got a dog for ... They tell me they're guard dogs".
He gets a lot of trouble with "kennelling offences" - "that is, owners not having them [kennels]".
Despite this, Virginia Ohlson's death is the first serious dog attack that Mr Oldridge can remember in his 22 years in the job.
Ken Prentis, the town's long-time volunteer St John ambulance officer who drove a fatally wounded Ms Ohlson through to Rotorua at 130km/h, could recall only one other minor attack recently.
Mr Oldridge was unaware that the unregistered dogs were being kept at the Pine St home of Shane "Spider" Rurehe, a whanau member of Mrs Ohlson.
Police said the dogs were a pitbull and a staffordshire-cross, but council records have them down as bull mastiff-crosses.
They were last registered in 2005 to a different Murupara address and to a woman believed to be Mr Rurehe's partner.
"If I had known about them, I would have gone and got them," Mr Oldridge says.
And just as the local people know him, the dogs do too: they sometimes split when they see him coming, as two did when he caught them "having a bull on" this week.
"A lot of the dogs I pick up, heck, they're just normal," he says.
The Ohlson family have forgiven Mr Rurehe and asked that he not be charged. Police are due to release their decision next week but have indicated he may face manslaughter charges.
When the Weekend Herald visited Murupara this week, a black dog without a collar lay near the spot where Mrs Ohlson was killed.
In Murupara, dogs roam free.
- Additional reporting Juliet Rowan