'They're not bad dogs': Rottweiler owner on attack

Footage of the two rottweilers involved in an attack on an Autistic man in Winton yesterday....
Footage of the two rottweilers involved in an attack on an Autistic man in Winton yesterday. Image: Supplied via NZME
The owner of one of two rottweilers that attacked an autistic man in Southland yesterday is facing having his "best friend" put down - but insists the "lovely" dogs are not at fault.

The dog's owner, who wished to remain anonymous, told the New Zealand Herald he'd been to the council this morning to try find out the fate of his dog after the prolonged attack in Winton yesterday afternoon.

Oliver Beaumont, 22, was attacked while walking near his family's home on Great North Rd about 1pm.

The attack lasted at least five minutes and the victim suffered extensive bite marks to his face and puncture wounds on his arms when he was set upon by two fully grown rottweilers, one male and one female.

He was taken to Southland Hospital where he received surgery, a police spokeswoman said.

"He is expected to recover in time. We wish him well.''

Oliver Beaumont
Oliver Beaumont

A family spokesperson this morning said Mr Beaumont would be coming home today.

The owner of the female dog, named Zara, said the victim had allegedly opened his gate and entered his property at the time of the attack.

"The person that was attacked should never have opened the gate and should never have been on my property," the owners said.

He and his partner owned the female dog, while the male dog belonged to his partner's father.

They were yet to determine whether both dogs were involved in the attack, and were relying on video footage to ascertain this.

"Frank's owner is very upset over this. That was his best friend, as Zara is mine.

"They are lovely dogs and very protective of their home. We got the dogs to guard our house and be our forever friends," he said.

"I know other people have put a bad name to rotties, but we are the small handful of rottie owners that loved and looked after them. We are hurting a lot over this.

"I am sorry for what has happened, but we are not bad owners and they are not bad dogs. They were protecting their home like all normal dogs would."

Bruce Halligan from Southland District Council could not confirm whether Beaumont had opened a gate and entered a property with the dog's on it.

Police have been approached for comment.

Halligan said both dogs were now impounded at the council facility and a formal investigation was under way.

"We are in the process of gathering that information at the moment, so at this point in time I cannot give you any definitive information as to what the likely outcome of the process will be.

"The sorts of things that are relevant are establishing the facts of the situation in terms of exactly what happened, and also the attitude of the dog owners - all those things are taken into account when we are assessing the appropriate enforcement action.

"We have real sympathy for the victim and are hoping that he has a speedy recovery," he said.

Rottweilers are currently 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.

Under the Dog Control Act 1996 a person may, for the purpose of stopping an attack, seize or destroy a dog if a person is attacked by the dog; or a person witnesses the dog attacking any other person, or any stock, poultry, domestic animal, or protected wildlife.

The owner of a dog that makes an attack, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $3000 - in addition to any liability that he or she may incur for any damage caused by the attack.

If the court is satisfied that the dog has committed an attack and that the dog has not been destroyed, the court must make an order for the destruction of the dog unless it is satisfied that the circumstances of the offence were exceptional and do not warrant destruction of the dog.

Victim was 'covered in blood'

One of the dogs fled the scene after the attack but after a lengthy search it was found late last night.

The police spokeswoman said the outcome for the dogs was ''in the hands of the council'', along with whether their owners would be charged. 

"Inquiries into the attack are ongoing and we continue to talk to the owners of the dogs, who are upset by what's happened."

Mr Beaumont was taking his regular walk near his family’s home in Great North Rd. As the 22-year-old strolled along a nearby gravel road about 1pm, he was set upon by the two dogs, one male and one female.

Neighbour Annie Burazor said she was alerted to the attack by her stepdaughter.

She grabbed a 50cm knife-sharpening steel as she rushed outside, to be confronted by the harrowing sight of the dogs mauling Mr Beaumont’s face, arms and legs. The victim’s father, Chris Beaumont,  later said the dogs "opened his head up".

Ms Burazor, who works with special needs students at Ruru Specialist School in Invercargill, said  the young man was "completely covered in blood". But Mr Beaumont, who has autism, was not screaming.

"He doesn’t react the same as other people would.

"There was no loud screaming."

For a minute that "felt like forever", Ms Burazor tried to distract the two dogs from their attack.

While she prevented them mauling Mr Beaumont for brief periods, she was unable to drive the dogs away until a man she understood to be an off-duty police officer arrived in his ute.

When he got out of his car, she handed him the steel she had grabbed as she rushed from her home.

But he was unimpressed with her choice of weapon, replying "What the f... am I supposed to do with this?"

Instead, he "made himself big and yelled at the dogs", which succeeded in driving them away from Mr Beaumont. "He was so brave," Ms Burazor said.

She assisted the injured and bleeding victim to the safety of her home, where she managed to staunch the bleeding from his head wound.

He suffered gashes on his face and puncture wounds on his arms, but thick jeans saved his legs from serious injury, she said. Originally from Sweden, Ms Burazor has  lived in Winton for only a few months. Ambulance officers arrived shortly afterwards to take Mr Beaumont to Southland Hospital. 

Police thanked the pair who went to Mr Beaumont’s aid. A police spokesman said they were speaking last night to the dogs’ owners, "who are upset by what has happened and are being helpful in assisting police and the council".

"Our immediate focus is on the victim."

Chris Beaumont applauded the actions of his "extremely brave" neighbour.

He said he had seen too many dog attacks, and urged the Government to take more action to prevent similar attacks by dangerous dogs. His son, who St John said had moderate injuries, entered surgery yesterday evening.

 - with NZ Herald



So, anyone entering that property, for whatever purpose, who is not family, would be attacked?

How, pray tell is the victim's autism relevant to this story? How can ODT justify that kind of sharing of a person's private health information when they are not even willing to reveal the name of the owner of the dogs? Perhaps you can hide his name but tell us whether he has been diagnosed with asthma or athletes foot or STIs? Or is HIS privacy more important?

All over the world the story is the same; when dogs kill or maim someone, we are always told what "lovely dogs they really are, friendly, wouldn't hurt a fly".






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