An Oamaru woman attacked by dogs while walking at the beach at Kakanui yesterday wants the public's help to identify the dogs' owner, who "scarpered".

Lynette Sheffield (62), of Oamaru, was walking on the beach at Campbells Bay about 10am when she was charged by three free-running dogs - two huntaway types, and a Border collie-type dog - when two of the dogs peeled off and converged behind her, biting her legs and leaving her with "a real deep gash" on her left leg.

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Her husband, Keith Sheffield, contacted the Otago Daily Times yesterday after the couple returned from Oamaru Hospital where she was treated for her wounds.

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"The disturbing part about it is the guy obviously knew that he was in trouble about it and did a runner," Mr Sheffield said.

The owner of the dogs, described as a man of European descent in his 50s or 60s, with a slim build and a beard, was wearing a hi-vis vest. The dogs came back for a "second go" but the owner called them off.

She informed the man his dogs had bitten her but he left as a Kakanui woman came to her aid, Mr Sheffield said.

"If they got her to the ground I hate to think what would have happened," he said.

While Mrs Sheffield was grateful for the help she received from the woman, she wanted the dogs' owner to accept responsibility.

Kakanui residents spoken to after the attack had not recognised the man.

A Waitaki District Council officer came and took photographs of her injuries, but a council spokeswoman declined to provide the ODT with the photos.

Council enforcement officer Tristan Hope said under the Dog Control Act 1996 and the council's dog control bylaw, dogs must be "kept under effective control whether or not they are being exercised in a lead-only area".

However, the beach was not controlled or managed by the council and dogs were allowed off-leash on the beach at Campbells Bay.

Information can be provided by calling the Waitaki District Council (03) 433-0300 or by emailing animal.control@waitaki.govt.nz.