A council boss says he understands people's anger over a spate of dog attacks on stock in the Waipapa area — but without proof a particular dog was involved the council can't order its destruction.
On Monday at least seven sheep were killed by roaming dogs at a rural Waipapa property, the third such attack since Christmas.
The killings have devastated owner Cathy Jones and her children.
Others in the neighbourhood have given up keeping chickens because of repeated attacks or are afraid to let their children play outside.
Far North District Council environmental services manager Darren Edwards said witnesses identified two dogs involved in an attack on Waitangi Day.
As a result one dog had been destroyed, with the owner's permission, but a second dog had to be returned because there was no proof it was directly involved. It was neutered by its owner to discourage it from wandering.
After the most recent attack, animal management officers had supplied a dog trap to the stock owner and would respond quickly to any reports of wandering dogs or attacks.
The officers also visited a nearby property where dogs are kept — understood to be the same property on State Highway 10 implicated in the Waitangi Day attack — and informed the owner about the recent attacks.
The dogs at the property were registered and under control.
''I understand the anger many people feel about these attacks on stock. However, the council must follow the law. It cannot destroy dogs without proof they have been directly involved in attacks,'' Edwards said.
He urged anyone who could identify the dogs responsible to call the council on 0800 920 029.
Meanwhile, an investigation into two serious attacks on children walking to school on Otiria Rd in Moerewa is continuing. The Advocate expects to report an outcome early next week.