Two terriers which viciously attacked a dog in a Queenstown reserve frequented by kids were seized by council this week.
The attack happened two weeks ago as Queenstowner Varick Neilson walked his and his wife’s two Miniature Schnauzers above Frankton Beach.
Neilson claims the black Staffordshire terriers bounded down a bank at full speed, bowled over their smaller dog and sank teeth into her lower neck and back.
“They would have killed her, without a doubt.”
After repeatedly kicking the terriers with his steel cap boots to no effect, Neilson smashed a rock at them.
One dog fled, he says, and he whacked the other three times before it left: “The fourth one, that I missed, I would have killed it.”
Neilson says he’s appalled their owner watched silently on a bank about 20 metres away during the attack.
His biggest concern was that the reserve is used by children going to and from two nearby schools.
“Within 20 minutes, I was driving past on the way to the vet and there were about 20 kids walking across that same park to go to school.
“Some five and six-year-old kids aren’t much bigger than our schnauzers.”
Neilson reported the incident to the council, who had an inspector visit him within two hours.
Neilson helped the council locate the terriers by spotting them two days later and tracking down their owner’s vehicle number plate.
It’s understood the owner didn’t cooperate when the inspector visited last week, so the council got a warrant to seize and impound the dogs.
From Facebook feedback and other sources, Neilson believes the terriers have attacked at least five other dogs.
“The owner should be prosecuted – they should at least pay my vet bills and my loss of wages.”
Neilson says vet surgery and lost wages already amount to about $650, with more bills to come.
Council regulatory boss Lee Webster hopes to complete his investigation by the end of this week.
Council’s options, he says, range from doing nothing through to prosecution – “which would ultimately lead to destruction of the dogs”.
Webster encourages residents to report any dog attacks and urges owners to keep their pets under control at all times.
Webster also advises people to submit to a draft dog control bylaw, coming out for consultation soon, if they have strong views on areas where dogs should either be banned or only allowed if on a lead.
“If the community is saying ‘we don’t believe this area should be frequented by dogs off leads’, then tell us.
“I’m sure that there’ll be others who say ‘no, they should be allowed to roam free under voice control’.”