Horror ride as 'deadly' dog attacks two horses

KAY BLUNDELL
Last updated 05:00 17/06/2014
Karena Fellowes
MAARTEN HOLL/ Fairfax NZ

SUDDEN ATTACK: Karena Fellowes shows the wound on her horse Picasso, who was bitten by a bull mastiff-pitbull cross at Queen Elizabeth Park in Paekakariki. Picasso threw Fellowes off and bolted, before being caught about 2 kilometres away.

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A rider has been dragged along the ground by her petrified horse after it was chased and attacked by a bull mastiff-pitbull "killing machine".

Karena Fellowes, an accident and emergency nurse, has been left with a haematoma from her hip to her knee, cuts and bruises. Her horse, Picasso, has a puncture wound to its chest.

Her 15-year-daughter, Caitlin, who was riding with her, suffered cuts and bruises, and her horse, Nevsky, has a flesh wound on its rear end.

The pair were riding along a track to the beach at Queen Elizabeth Park, Paekakariki, about 4.15pm on Saturday, when they saw a big dog jumping around on a bridge in front of them.

A park ranger was working there, and the owner held on to the dog as the riders crossed.

But a couple of minutes later, Nevsky was attacked. "We saw this blur and next thing Caitlin's horse was up in the air, going ballistic. The dog had leapt up, bitten it on its back end.

"There was no warning, no bark, it was fast and deadly."

Her daughter was thrown on to driftwood. The dog ran at her, and "we thought it was going to attack her". But the horse took off and the dog gave chase.

Fellowes rode after it, shouting at the dog, which jumped up and bit her horse.

"I was hitting at it with my whip to get it off . . . my horse was spinning around and kicking out . . . I was thrown off."

The two riderless horses then took off across the bridge. The ranger and dog owner tried to grab the dog, but could not stop it.

Fellowes and Caitlin jumped into the ranger's ute and passed the dog, pursuing the horses for about 2 kilometres before they were able to catch them.

The ranger then grabbed a big piece of driftwood as the dog came hurtling round a corner.

"He headed straight at us," Fellowes said. "The ranger hit the dog twice but it was intent on attacking. It grabbed the chest of my horse and the horses went ballistic."

Fellowes got entwined in the reins and was dragged up the road, being kicked and trampled. "I nearly passed out from the pain of being kicked in the leg."

One of the horses managed to kick the dog, and its owner - who Fellowes said was "very remorseful" - grabbed it and threw it in his car.

Ranger Brendan Bulliff said he had never seen a dog attacking so aggressively. "Both horses were rearing and bleeding."

The dog is now in Kapiti Coast District Council's pound, and animal control services are investigating the attack.

"He [the owner] wants it destroyed and we want it destroyed," Fellowes told Radio New Zealand last night. "I don't see how a dog like that can ever be safe in the public arena."

She said of Picasso: "He's got a piece missing, probably the size of an egg, from his chest. Everyone's very shaken up."

The dog's owner was as shocked as she was, she said, and had promised to cover vet costs. He had owned the dog for only a couple of months since getting it from an animal rescue shelter in Levin. It had not been neutered.

"There have got to be questions about why people are rehoming such dangerous dogs," Fellowes said.

"This massive, more than 50-kilo bull mastiff-pitbull cross is not a family pet, it is a fighting dog, a killing machine, fully intent on attacking us.

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"I see people all time with bites from dangerous dogs like this. It shows how slack the laws are . . . it is time they were tightened up.

"Someone could have been really badly hurt."

- The Dominion Post

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