Two dozen chickens killed in attack

Minni Gordon of Haruru with Joey and other surviving chickens after a series of dog attacks. Photo: NZME.
Minni Gordon of Haruru with Joey and other surviving chickens after a series of dog attacks. Photo: NZME.

A Bay of Islands woman is distraught after attacks by wandering dogs left at least two dozen of her prized chickens dead.

Minni Gordon, of Haruru Falls, discovered the latest attack when she went to check on her chooks last Thursday morning.

Dogs had ripped through a wire netting coop and killed 12 rare Araucana chickens. Another two are missing.

Most of the dead birds had been disemboweled.

''There were just feathers everywhere, and dead and dying chooks. I just went back up to the house, I couldn't face it.''

Gordon called the Far North District Council but was told Animal Control had no rangers available, so she called police who told her it was an Animal Control issue.

A neighbour cleaned up the mess and found a rooster still alive under a pile of dead hens.

''It's really upsetting. To some people they're just poultry, but they were my pets. I'm especially upset about the Araucanas.''

Gordon said she had shared the eggs with six households in her Yorke Rd neighbourhood but now they would miss out.

The latest attack was one of several since January.

At first she didn't know why guinea pigs, chickens and ducks were disappearing. A game camera captured a dog entering the property, but the photo only showed part of the intruder.

Then in February, after hearing a commotion, she disturbed two dogs during an attack. A chocolate-brown hunting dog dropped the rooster it had in its mouth and fled.

She followed it and another dog, a light tan pitbull type, as they ran home up the Waitangi River.

She confronted the owner who was apologetic and told her the dogs liked to go swimming in the river so she would let them out in the afternoons.

The rooster died later of its injuries.

After that the dogs started coming at night.

In March dogs forced their way into another pen, killing at least three hens; in April another coop was ripped open. A game camera captured two dogs arriving at 11.05pm and leaving 20 minutes later, one with a hen in its mouth.

The number of dead and missing hens was now 24 along with two roosters and three guinea pigs.

Animal Control was notified of the February, March, April and July attacks. Officers responded after each incident and have now placed a dog trap on the property.

However, Gordon said more should have been done to stop the attacks after the February incident when she saw the dogs with a dead hen, was able to identify them and even followed them back to their property.

''The dogs just keep coming back again and again.''

The council has defended its actions, however, with a spokesman saying one dog was seized after the April attack and another desexed and issued with a muzzling order. The owner was fined a total of $1000.

The owner surrendered another dog to Animal Control officers yesterday.

The Advocate understands other upset Haruru residents contacted the owner of the rental property where the dogs were kept. A condition of the tenancy was that dogs be kept contained on the property.

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