Father says pets bit son during seizure

BY MIKE WATSON
Last updated 05:00 15/02/2010

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The father of a Tauranga man attacked by his two pet pit bull-cross dogs at home believes they may have become agitated after his son suffered a seizure.

The victim, Brent Johanson, a 34-year-old builder, fought off the two female crossbred bull terriers as they attacked him and managed to shut them in a room before calling 111 on February 4.

He suffered serious injuries to his head, face and arms and is in a stable condition in Waikato Hospital after skin graft surgery.

Both dogs – Katana, aged 10, and Jezz, aged 18 months – were shot by police to ensure the safety of ambulance staff who went to help Mr Johanson.

Mr Johanson's father, Ross, said his son suffered seizures. He believed the one such seizure may have set off the dog attack. The dogs had not attacked his son before.

Ross Johanson said he believed the seizure caused one of the dogs, possibly the younger one, to become excited and agitated. "When Brent has a seizure, he thrashes his arms around and the dogs would probably have got excited.

"Brent would have been jumping and thrashing around and that is what triggered it off. It's the only reason the dogs would have got excited."

Mr Johanson said only one dog, not both, attacked his son.

"It was probably the younger one. There was a jealousy between the two dogs. I don't think it was Katana, she wouldn't have done it."

Mr Johanson said the seizures often left his son exhausted afterwards and with no memory of them happening. His son, who did not remember being attacked, now faced a long recovery.

"He will be in hospital another month at least. He has had skin grafts to his head but he has a long way to go until his arm is better.

"It's a big open, rotting wound at the moment and they just have to keep cleaning it until it heals.

"The doctors have worked on his tendons, nerves and the prognosis is good, although he may not regain full use of his arm again."

His son's biggest test was his mental strength. "He is devastated the dogs have been shot. They were everything to him, they were his family – especially Katana, who he had since she was a pup."

Mr Johanson said he would encourage his son not to get another dog. "If he did, I would try and tell him to get another breed, or a smaller dog."

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- The Dominion Post

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