Champion show birds killed in dog attack

Dunollie resident Lisa Hamker and daughter Lottie (3) with Ming Li the duck, the only bird to...
Dunollie resident Lisa Hamker and daughter Lottie (3) with Ming Li the duck, the only bird to survive a suspected dog attack at their property. Photo: Greymouth Star
A West Coast family is traumatised after their entire flock of 33 chickens - many of them champion show birds - was killed in a suspected dog attack.

Lisa Hamker made the grim discovery when she went to check the chicken coop at thier Dunollie property about 9.30am on Wednesday.

"It was like a massacre - there were dead chickens all over the place," Ms Hamker said today.

The killer had just "gone crazy", she said.

"It ripped the cage apart, it must have been a crazy big dog, or even a few of them.

"The attacker also bit through some of the wood on the cage and killed the baby chicks as well."

The family's pet duck was the only survivor, although it was badly injured.

"It had its back ripped open and we spent $300 at the vets to have surgery. We would not normally have paid that much but the duck was all that was left," Ms Hamker said.

Many of the birds were show birds and a number were South Island champions.

"All of them had names, they all had their own character. They were out pets. Other people have their cats, guinea pigs and goats - we had our chooks and we really loved all of them," their devastated owner said.

Ms Hamker said she was a dedicated chicken breeder, and now had to start all over again.

"We just wept and wept. There have been a lot of tears."

Her daughter Lottie (3) was also very upset.

"They were Lottie's pets. They had been a big part of her life. She fed them every day, played with them and took her favourite, Jimbo, to show off at preschool - Lottie is very sad, too."

The Grey District Council dog control officer told her it appeared a large dog was responsible for the attack, after she showed him some large paw prints at the rear of the Herd St property.

A neighbour had also lost chooks in a dog attack a while back and Ms Hamker said this was not the first time her chickens had been attacked either.

"This, although the worst, is the third attack in three years."

She believed roaming dogs were responsible, and she urged people to keep their dogs confined to their property.

"People who see dogs wandering the streets should also report them so the owners know there are consequences for allowing them to roam the streets.

"Our loss has been both financial and emotional. We have a vet bill and no chooks, and we were getting a dozen eggs a week, and that is a significant loss to us."

She said it would be nice if the owner of the dog responsible came forward, but she doubted anyone would.

"Since the attack a lot of really nice people have given us eggs and chickens, and we really appreciate that and it makes me feel better."

 - Viv Logie

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