Deaf woman's hearing dog hurt in attack

A dog attack in Dunedin yesterday that resulted in the death of one dog, and another in a "touch-and-go" condition at a veterinary clinic is just sad all round, police and animal control have said.

Constable Keith Braithwaite, of South Dunedin, said a woman in her 40s was walking her dogs in Larnach Rd, Waverley, when a bull mastiff dog escaped from its owner's property and attacked one of her dogs (a schnauzer) just after 10am.

The schnauzer was badly injured, and the woman was knocked over, requiring treatment at hospital for minor cuts to her head.

Const Braithwaite said the woman, who was profoundly deaf, was understandably distraught at what had happened to her dog, which Dunedin City Council senior animal control officer Jim Pryde confirmed was registered as a special-needs dog, or a hearing dog.

Const Braithwaite said the schnauzer sustained some serious injuries to its face and head, and he understood it was still being treated by veterinarians last night.

"I understand it's pretty touch-and-go though."

The circumstances of the attack were unfortunate, he said. It appeared the bull mastiff was usually left in an enclosed yard during the day, but yesterday it seemed someone went on to the property while the owners were at work, and left a gate open.

The owners came home as soon as they were contacted and were also distraught at what had happened. They voluntarily agreed to have the dog put down yesterday afternoon, he said.

"The [schnauzer's] owner was distraught and it is a sad situation for the bull mastiff's owners too, because this has happened possibly through no fault of their own. It's just a very sad case all round," Const Braithwaite said.

No charges would be laid in relation to the attack, he said. Mr Pryde said the bull mastiff had been registered with the council for some years, and had never been in any trouble.

debbie.porteous@odt.co.nz

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