Whimpers, yelps and screams of terror tore down a suburban Fairy Springs street which housed elderly people and families this week. A bitten leg, a bloody lawn and an old, lovable beagle mauled - but still alive - sent a chill through the already cold, winter air. The vicious dog attack might have been the only attack that day, but it was the second on a person this week. And residents are now scared it won't be the last.
A woman has been left with teeth marks in her leg and bruised fingers and her family's pet beagle mauled after a savage dog attack in Rotorua.
The woman, a daughter of a couple in their 80s, was attacked on Monday as she tried to save her parents' 8-year-old beagle from being mauled by a black, mixed-breed dog in Fairy Springs.
It is the eighth dog attack in Rotorua in the past month, adding to the list of the 96 attacks on people and other animals in the first six months of 2019.
The attack came just one day after two dogs attacked another woman on Milton Grove, resulting in an ambulance taking her to hospital.
The woman involved in the latest attack on Monday said: ''I wasn't worried about my leg, I was worried about saving the dog."
This was not the first time blood was shed at their home with the beagle being attacked last year by a similar dog.
The year before that, the family's other dog was killed in an attack.
"My parents are old and these are vicious dogs. Unless you're a big person you can't pry them off," she told the Rotorua Daily Post.
She now wants to make the fence already on the property more robust.
The couple's neighbour, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, saw the attack and said she could not get the sound of the beagle being mauled out of her head.
"It was horrific, I've never, never seen or heard anything like that," she said, saying the beagle was just cowering, "like he had given up".
She watched in horror as the attacking dog had the beagle around the neck before biting the woman on the leg as she tried to get it off. The dog then turned back to the beagle, ripping its ear.
As she watched in horror another man from the street tried to stop the attack, repeatedly punching the attacking dog, which would not budge.
The neighbour said her family was now looking at getting a high front fence.
"It's definitely got the taste for blood because that's all you could see."
She said the attack ended when a car arrived and someone from it called for the dog. It jumped in before the driver drove off.
The beagle has had surgery and is now home recovering.
Lakes DHB confirmed eight people have required hospital treatment in Rotorua so far this year from dog attacks: two in each month of January, March, April and May.
This did not include people who arrived at the Emergency Department.
The number of attacks on people is slightly up from previous years, according to figures from Rotorua Lakes Council. In the six months to June, there have been 48 attacks on people, compared with 47 in January to June 2018 and 38 in January to June 2017.
The council's animal control team lead Dylan Wright said of the eight reported attacks this month, three were on people, four on domestic animals and one on stock which killed eight sheep on State Highway 30, Rotoiti.
The number of attacks on people and animals so far this year is down from the same time period of previous years; 131 from January to June last year and 125 from January to June 2017.
But Wright said the numbers were "still higher than we would like to see".
He said any attack was a concern and many attacks and roaming dogs were not reported, but needed to be done immediately to help prevent dangerous attacks.
"Attacks are considered a priority-one job which means they are responded to immediately, 24 hours a day," Wright said.
Less than a month before that, three cats, one dog, and a guinea pig were killed by dogs in Hillcrest.
Wright said the details of the attacks were still being investigated.
Wright said each attack was considered on a case-by-case basis and the council could seek a court order to destroy a dog if not surrendered voluntarily after it was found to be a safety hazard to keep the dog alive.
Central City Vets veterinarian Russell Cowie said he had heard from other vets and the council there had been an increase in attacks.
He said vets saw a range of injuries on pets attacked by dogs - from mild grazes to animals which needed to be put down on arrival.
Cowie said the assumption was that a dog which attacked once would have a tendency to attack again.
"Typically the dog who attacks is being allowed to be in a position they can attack . . . it's got aggression issues but it's also a dog that hasn't been contained."
The council has a team of seven animal control officers, with some on call after hours who work to the legislation set out under the Dog Control Act.
They attend complaints and carry out patrols seven days a week.
- Often people post pictures and information on private social media pages which means officers are not aware of roaming dog issues.
-When reporting a dog (if safe to do so) a photograph of the dog and/or a detailed description of the breed and if known, the address from which the dog emerged or is known to live, is useful.
- If you see a roaming dog it is important to try and distance yourself from the dog but do not run. If possible get behind a solid object such as a fence, inside your home if you are on your own property or get to your car if it is nearby.