A dog viciously attacked two horses in Queen Elizabeth Park, Paekakariki, at the weekend, causing two riders to fall from the horses.
A Kapiti Coast District Council spokeswoman said the dog attacked one of the horses, taking a chunk of flesh from its chest, and biting the other horse's leg.
Both riders were thrown, the 15-year-old experiencing bruising. The older woman was dragged and kicked and suffered multiple bruises and abrasions. She was later seen at Wellington Hospital's emergency deparment. An ambulance, initially called to the scene, was cancelled.
Both horses suffered multiple injuries.
Council's animal control services, the park ranger, police and ambulance attended after being alerted to the attack.
"This must have been a terrible ordeal for the riders and their horses," the council's Environmental Services manager, Nick Fowler, said.
"And another example of why we need to be vigilant about uncontrolled or aggressive dogs.
"People and their animals should be able to enjoy the district's parks and tracks without fear of something like this happening. Such an event can knock public confidence," Fowler said.
Queen Elizabeth Park ranger Brendan Bulliff said the first he knew of the attack was when he saw two horses galloping past him on Whareroa Beach without riders, with a dog in pursuit.
He offered to help one of the riders, a woman whom he said was "frantic", and gave her a lift in his vehicle to try to catch the runaway horses to prevent them going onto State Highway 1.
They reached the horses about one and a half kilometres up Whareroa Rd road in the park. While trying to calm the animals down, the dog arrived and attacked them again.
During the second attack the woman became tangled in the reins and dragged along the road a short distance. Both horses were rearing and bleeding, Bulliff said.
He fended the dog off with a piece of wood before the dog owners arrived and managed to put the dog in their car.
The woman had been kicked in the thigh by one of the horses but did not require ambulance treatment. The 15 year old girl and the woman were very shocked, he said.
The council said the dog owners were also very shocked.
"I have never seen a dog attacking so aggressively", Bulliff said. He added it was lucky the riders were wearing helmets when they were thrown.
The clear message was to keep dogs under control, preferably on a leash in the park, he said.
The dog is being held by the council and the attack is being investigated.
> Did you witness the attack, or know anything about it? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Dominion Post