A Waipapa family is devastated after a grisly dog attack left half their sheep dead in the third attack on their flock since Christmas.
Cathy Jones said the first she knew of the latest mauling was when she went to check on her sheep on Monday afternoon and saw one of her ewes, Friendly, dead with its head stuck in a fence.
Suspecting a dog attack she looked in a nearby creek and saw another dead sheep with a gaping wound in its neck.
She called animal control, who turned up 10 minutes later, then found another sheep dead in its paddock and four more in the creek. Most of the dead animals were pregnant ewes.
That left her with just seven sheep of the 23 she had before the first attack in December.
Jones said the killings were distressing for her and her children.
''I was just numb, I was devastated. I knew it was going to happen again.''
They had owned Friendly for seven years. Another of the sheep had been hand-reared by her tenants.
The first attack, when eight sheep were killed, occurred just before Christmas. On that occasion there was no response from animal control.
The dogs returned on Waitangi Day but that time the family was home, as was a handyman who was working on the house.
They saw a tan pig dog driving sheep into the creek while a black dog was mauling a ewe on the ground.
The handyman tried to chase it away but it was highly aggressive and wouldn't back off, Jones said.
They took photos of the dogs which the Advocate understands were traced to a property on State Highway 10.
The black dog was surrendered and put down but the tan dog, which had a puppy, was returned recently on the condition it was neutered and kept under control.
Jones believed the same dog was involved because of the similarity with previous attacks.
Animal control officers left a cage trap and suggested Jones install cameras around her property. With 4ha to monitor, however, that just wasn't practical.
She was considering giving away her remaining sheep.
''But I can't mow 10 acres. What am I supposed to do?''
Neighbour Jackie Sanders said it was distressing to see the savaged sheep.
''They'd obviously died traumatically. It was also sad to see Cathy's reaction. My concern now is once they've finished the rest of the sheep, what are they going to go for next? There's more stock as well as lots of children and pets in the area.''
Sanders tried to pull the dead sheep out of the steep-sided creek using her ute but in the end Jones and a tenant had to wade it and drag them out.
The attacks are also a financial loss for Jones with Wiltshire sheep worth at least $4000 killed since December.
The Far North District Council has been contacted for comment but had not responded by edition time yesterday.
Attacks on sheep are not confined to the Far North.
At least five attacks were reported in a three-month period in the Whangārei District in 2017, while in late 2016 roaming dogs killed at least eight sheep and injured another 14, some seriously, in a series of attacks in Dargaville.
Just four days before the Waipapa incident, roaming dogs attacked two schoolchildren in Moerewa with an 11-year-old girl requiring hospital treatment for her injuries.
If a dog attacks your stock...
• Call Far North District Council animal control on 0800 920 029 or (09) 401 5200. Give your name, address and phone number, the location and nature of the attack, and as detailed a description as possible of the dog(s). Tell the call taker if the dog is still on the property. The number for Whangārei is 0800 932 463 or (09) 430 4200; for Kaipara call 0800 105 890. All numbers are 24 hours.
• Under section 57 of the Dog Control Act 1996 you have the right to seize or destroy a dog to stop an attack on a person, livestock, poultry, pets or protected wildlife. If you seize a dog it must be handed over to animal control as soon as possible. Note that you can't, for example, follow a dog back to its own property and seize or destroy it once an attack is over.
• If a person is in immediate danger from an aggressive or attacking dog, call 111 immediately.