Woman's dancing 'prompted fatal attack'

AMY MAAS
Last updated 18:16 31/03/2013
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Mauled: Chloe Jane Mathewson was killed by large dogs.

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A woman savaged to death by two Rottweiler dogs suffered serious drug addiction issues, her family says.

Police confirmed yesterday that Chloe Jane Mathewson, 31, was attacked by two of three rottweilers at the Auckland property where her savaged body was found early on Friday.

Her father, Jim Mathewson and brother Ben issued a statement through the police this afternoon saying she had been a much-wanted child.

As a teenager she lost her mother to dementia.

"Tragically she looked after everyone but herself," the family said.

"She has had serious addictions which Ben and I have worked to exhaustion to help her overcome.

"This beautiful young woman, when clean and free from her addictions, would have made a truly positive contribution to our society."

They added: "This loss has shattered us and we are in deep pain and agony trying to cope."

The attack was so severe police were initially unable to tell if the dogs had killed Mathewson or mauled her body after she was dead, disguising evidence of a homicide.

Detective Inspector Greg Cramer yesterday said it was up to the coroner to rule on the cause of her death, we're satisfied she was not injured by any other person.

"It appears she has wandered out of the dwelling and shortly afterwards was set upon by two of the dogs."

Police made no comment on whether Mathewson had been taking drugs. The pilates instructor was a known visitor to the house where she died.

A source familiar with the scene said it was his understanding she had taken drugs, went outside the house on Rodeo Dr in Auckland's North Shore and started dancing, prompting the attack.

The Mathewson family said Chloe had been given a Greek name meaning "blooming, beautiful".

"Her early years were such a joy and she developed into a tall, beautiful young woman who had such fine personal qualities; she loved people, was sensitive, caring and compassionate, and had a glorious sense of humour, a very capable mind and was gifted in sports and music.

"Her magnetic personality drew people to her and she inspired other young people to make a difference in their lives."

All three rottweilers from the property were seized by Animal Control and put down within hours of the attack. The 52-year-old man who lived at the property was "assisting with our investigation", Cramer said.

The rottweilers were all "very large" pure breed and unneutered males, said Warwick Robertson of Auckland Council.

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Neighbour Brian Copland said residents were "very much aware" of the three dogs.

"If you went close to the gate they would come leaping up like the Hound of the Baskervilles," he said.

Mathewson was the sixth person known to be killed by dogs in New Zealand.

FATAL CANINE ATTACKS IN NEW ZEALAND

1969 – farmer killed by a mixed-breed farm dog.

1997 – 59-year-old Te Puke man killed by two bull-terrier-cross dogs. The dogs were trained to hunt pigs, but turned on their owner when he tried to stop them fighting.

2003 – 73-year-old Northland woman dies after being bitten on the foot by one of her three pure-breed Alaskan malamutes. The bite hits an artery and she bleeds to death in her chair.

2004 – 39-year-old Dunedin woman savaged to death by her pet bull mastiff dog. The dog weighed 55kg –- the women weighed 46kg.

2007 – 56-year-old Murupara woman attacked by a pit bull terrier and a staffordshire cross in a suburban street. She loses a large amount of blood and dies of shock in an ambulance on the way to hospital.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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