Authorities are seeking public help to solve what they acknowledge is a growing problem of roaming dogs in Wanganui.
Ranger patrols have been boosted in Castlecliff in recent days after attacks left a number of hens dead.
About 90 people were attacked in the year to April and ambulance staff say they are called to up to three injuries resulting from dog attacks each month.
Wanganui District Council customer services manager Melanie Heron said yesterday animal rangers had been doing heavy patrolling in the suburb, with some success.
"They identified three wandering dogs and have followed up on each of these dogs and taken the appropriate action," she said.
The roaming dogs had been all sizes, she said. And they were not always animals that had been neglected by owners.
"No, some of these dogs are really clever and find amazing ways to get out," she said.
A few of the wandering dogs even knew what the animal ranger's truck sounded like.
"They know the sound of the engine and can hear it coming from the end of the road, and they take off and hide," Ms Heron said.
The animal-control team was investigating incidents in which birds had been killed in recent days in the Gonville/Castlecliff area.
On Saturday morning, Kowhai St resident Barry Smith found his henhouse latch had been gnawed through and his six chooks mauled to death.
On Monday morning, two more owners found their birds maimed and killed.
Dayle Cottis, on Mosston Rd, found her three hens had been savaged to death by marauding dogs who tore through the wire-netting on the cage.
The hens' wings had been pulled out, their feathers torn off and their breasts torn open.
Tony Ingram, a Laird St resident, woke on Monday to find his aviary had been broken into.
"I discovered five birds had actually been slaughtered ... their feathers were strewn around and bodies ripped to shreds."
He lost two budgies, a quail, a ringneck dove and a cockatiel.
Even though patrolling by the rangers and setting traps was an effective way of managing roaming dogs, the best results were produced when animal control and the community worked together, Ms Heron said.
A dog trap was a cage with a raised platform inside the spring-loaded doorway where meat was laid.
"As soon as the dog takes the meat, the door closes and locks. The dog is not hurt at all," she said.
"The more information members of the public can give the animal-control team, such as where and when the dogs are seen, what the dogs look like, which address they have come from or gone back to, the more successful our team can be at catching the dogs."
Wanganui region St John Ambulance operations manager Jimmy Seville said the service was called to up to three dog-related injuries every month.
"Yes, dog attacks are always happening. We get called regularly," he said.
More than 90 Wanganui people have been attacked by dogs in the year to April.
Ms Heron said earlier that 91 cases of dog attacks on people had been reported to the council between last April and this April.
She said 30 dogs in the Wanganui district were classified as dangerous.
A total of 214 dogs had been classified as menacing in Wanganui - 175 of these because their breeds, which included American pitbull terrier, Brazilian fila, dogo Argentino and Japanese tosa, were the breeds required under the Dog Control Act to be classified as menacing, she said.
"The zero-tolerance approach in the council's dog-control policy is applied in all instances of reported dog attacks," Ms Heron said.