Counting costs of attack

MICHELE ONG AND CARYN WIGMORE
Last updated 10:55 16/08/2012
DOGATTACK

MAULED ANIMAL: Carolyn’s daughter Erin Beattie holds the pet alpaca which was savaged by dogs in Kaukapakapa.

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A security firm worker may be forced to safeguard her own home after two dogs mauled her pet alpaca.

Carolyn Beattie works for a company which installs surveillance devices in major banks.

Ironically, she may have to install CCTV cameras at her Kaukapakapa house and top her fences with chicken wire.

This follows the attack by a huntaway cross and a black bouvier, which squeezed under fences and chased her three alpacas, maiming one.

The smallest, Theo, sustained a punctured leg artery and multiple bites to the leg.

"There was a lot of blood - it was literally spurting out," Mrs Beattie says.

"He couldn't walk for a week. He's always been pretty tame and timid so the dogs singled him out."

The other two only escaped because they were more boisterous, she says.

She wants to be compensated for injuries done to her alpaca which "had its wounds patched up" and was prescribed antibiotics. But Mrs Beattie is finding it hard to have the dogs' owner take responsibility for the July 22 attack.

"My neighbours heard the alpacas squealing and managed to scare the dogs off. The neighbours rounded the dogs up and put them in their barn and alerted the pound," Mrs Beattie says.

An Auckland Council animal officer collected the dogs and Mrs Beattie was assured the owners would have their property inspected to prevent the incident from happening again. She was also told the dogs would be rehomed if the property was found to be unsatisfactory.

Mrs Beattie followed up the dogs' status and sought compensation for the $400 vet bill for her alpaca. But she was told the dogs were released the following day.

"The reason for letting the dogs out early was because the owner had a reasonable explanation as to why they were out," Mrs Beattie says. "So we asked who would be liable for the vet's bill and were advised we could take this to the small claims court."

But she says there was little chance she would be compensated because she didn't witness the incident. "Never mind there was a dog with blood all over its mouth and blood everywhere.

"I've got a suitably fenced paddock but these dogs have gone and ripped my alpaca to shreds."

There's the continual worry the dogs will return as they now have a taste for blood.

"Every time we hear a dog bark we'd be rushing to make sure it's not happening on our paddock," Mrs Beattie says.

She fears she might be charged for animal cruelty if she tried shooting the dogs if they return to her property.

The episode left Mrs Beattie feeling like she is the culprit.

"It's made me feel as if it was my fault the dogs ended up on my property."

The Auckland Council was asked to comment but failed to respond by press time.

Dog attacks on stock often increase around lambing and calving time.

Jenny Savannah of Silverdale lost 50 lambs to wandering dogs over three occasions and says she understands the "emotional, financial and labour costs involved" in dealing with the actions of one or two dogs.

"The owner has admitted to both us and dog control that it was his dog, yet according to law this is not enough evidence to have the dog destroyed.

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"To the owner's credit, he has agreed to pay for animals killed in the most recent attack - 20 lambs."

- © Fairfax NZ News

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