Major concern over dog attack

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An Oamaru resident is concerned about what he perceives to be the Waitaki District Council’s lack of action after five of his chickens were killed by a dog in two separate incidents.

Four of Stephen Murray’s pet chickens were killed in a dog attack about two months ago at his Aln St address and another one was killed last Thursday by what is believed to be the same dog.

Mr Murray said after the first incident he called WDC animal control but they told him they couldn’t do anything about it because he did not have enough information about the dog.

When the second incident happened he got as much information as he could, including three witnesses, before calling the council the second time.

“They weren’t very sympathetic.

“The person on the phone didn’t come across as being very human.”

They asked for more information, which he did not know, including the sex of the dog and told him they would need to talk to someone who had seen the attack.

“They said we haven’t got anything to go off.

Even if they couldn’t do anything it would have been better if they investigated it before saying that, he said.

“I’m not very impressed.”

Mr Murray is currently organising his evidence to give to the council and said he would try to secure the area to stop the dog getting in again.

“I’m pretty certain the dog will come back to finish off the job.”

Neighbour Cathy Lawrence, who witnessed the second attack, said she heard a commotion and saw the dog running out of the garden and up the street with a chicken in its mouth.

She contacted animal control shortly after Mr Murray and found them a bit easier to deal with as she had more answers because she had seen the attack.

She said a woman from animal control came out to the section and told her they might put in a dog trap.

However, Mr Murray said he did not know they had come to his property.

Mrs Lawrence said she was concerned about a dog being loose in the area because there was a school nearby.

“I’m sure it’s a concern for anybody knowing there’s a dog on the loose.

“If it goes for chickens it could go for wee kids.

“It’s the responsibility of dog owners to know where their dogs are and to have a well-fenced garden.”

WDC regulatory services manager Lichelle Guyan said animal control had been involved with both incidents.

In the first instance there were no witnesses, although a neighbour saw a dog wandering in the area and while they were unable to clearly identify the breed, animal control made an immediate patrol of the area.

“Unfortunately they were unable to sight any wandering dogs.”

In the second incident, a person saw what is thought to be a tan pit bull exit the property with a chicken in its mouth.

Animal control visited the owners of a known tan dog soon after, however, the dog was contained inside the its house and they could not confirm whether it had been wandering the area.

The area was patrolled extensively and continues to be patrolled, she said.

“We acknowledge this is unsettling for the owner of the chickens.

“We encourage any member of the public in this area to report incidents of dogs roaming or seeing any dog behaving in a threatening manner so that we can take appropriate action.”

WDC are reviewing their processes after the recent adoption of the Dog Control Policy and Bylaw.

In future, dog owners and complainants will get an information sheet about how dog attacks are investigated.

By RUBY HARFIELD

PHOTO: RUBY HARFIELD

CONCERNED: Oamaru resident Stephen Murray with the four chickens that survived the second dog attack.