Vicious dogs attacks have continued through the holiday period in Oamaru.
Last month Waitaki District Council regulatory services manager Lichelle Guyan said there had been eight dog attacks in November, with four on people, the highest number of attacks in two years.
However, the worrying trend has continued with Animal Control receiving 58 reports between December 22 and January 5, with 60 per cent of those being wandering dogs.
Of those reports, seven were attacks, with three on people and four either on stock or other dogs.
“It is disappointing that we continue to see a high number of attacks,” Mrs Guyan said.
All three attacks involving people are currently under investigation.
In two instances medical treatment was sought from A & E and in all cases the offending dog was a mastiff cross, she said.
One of the attacks was on an elderly man, who needed stitches, and another a child, whose injuries were not as severe.
Animal control is also investigating an incident of a serious attack on another dog which occurred at a private property on Eden St at 4pm on Monday.
The dog who was attacked received substantial injuries requiring surgery and is being monitored closely, she said.
The owner was also injured during the attack but not as a result of a dog bite and was taken by ambulance to Dunedin Hospital.
“We believe the offending dog is a mastiff/bull dog cross,” Mrs Guyan said.
“We ask if you saw or heard the event, or have information that could assist us identify the dog, to contact Animal Control on 433 0300 immediately.
“This is not a dog we want to remain unidentified.”
It is important for the public to keep away from and report any wandering dogs or attacks even in no injuries have occurred, Mrs Guyan said.
Another way to help would be for the public, if they saw a dog attack and were carrying a smart phone, to take a photo.
“It is useful for animal control to have a record of dog behaviour should a more serious incident occur.”
While she hoped it might just be a busy few months and not a continued trend, the increasing number of wandering dogs was a worrying factor in the number of attacks, the manager said.
Dog owners have a responsibility to ensure their dogs are well cared for, have water on hand, get regular exercise, not able to leave the confines of their property without their owners and be under control at all times.
When a dog attack is reported council will investigate thoroughly including interviewing any witnesses and an infringement notice will be issued.
By Ruby Harfield
PHOTO: RUBY HARFIELD – Waitaki District Council regulatory services manager Lichelle Guyan (left) and Animal Control officer Kelly Gore-Symes with abandoned dog Daisy at the pound.