No excuse for Rottweiler attack - Hawkesby

The "lovely" (as the owner described them) dogs were not at fault - according to the owner of one of the two rottweilers that mauled an autistic man, biting him to the bone.

The vicious attack left the victim with more than 60 puncture wounds to his body, face and head. One bite was so deep it was down to his skull and required extensive surgery.

Yet these dogs, according to the owner, are just lovely.

Newsflash: no they're not.

Arriving at the scene to see his two dogs mauling this man, the owner tried to call them off, they didn't obey. So not only did they attack, they didn't stop attacking when asked to. The owners said that, despite rottweilers having a bad name, they looked after theirs well and loved them. I don't doubt that. But the sad reality is that the dogs chose to attack someone, and didn't relent - even when being called off.

I find it particularly galling that the owner tried to justify this attack by saying that the dogs were just defending their home, "protecting it like any normal dog would".

Well I've got two dogs, neither have attacked anyone for coming onto our property ever. Dogs don't just naturally decide to protect property to the point of biting someone to the bone. The usual protection of property cited by dog owners tends to be more along the lines of barking or jumping up and down.

Rottweilers are not classified within New Zealand's menacing and dangerous dogs list, which includes American pit bull terriers, Brazilian fila, Japanese tosa, dogo argentino and perro de presa canario.

But should rottweilers be on this list? The breed debate is a tough one because then we go down the track of cross-breeds versus pure breeds: how you know exactly how much of what is in your dog, how can you prove it, and so on.

Nevertheless our dog bite statistics are horrific. Last year almost 12,000 people were bitten by dogs, including more than 1700 children - many left with permanent scars.

And when it comes to rottweilers, a woman was savaged to death by one in 2013. And it's not just people. Last year a Maltese shitsu was killed by a rottweiler.

So should they at least be muzzled? All of these questions are a bit late for the victims sadly. But it irks me when we hear owners roll out the same old line every time someone gets mauled - "but it was such a lovely dog".

Sorry, but no it's not.

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