Wellington Scoop

Dog attacks increasing in Masterton during lockdown

Report from LDR
An increase in dog attacks in Masterton since the covid-19 lockdown has led to a call for “common sense” from the district council’s environmental leader. Three people have suffered attacks from dogs in the last two weeks, and one dog has been put down.

Terri Mulligan, Masterton District Council’s [MDC] environmental services manager, said there had been 12 incidents in the last two weeks of March, compared to two in the same period last year.In one case, a woman required medical treatment for minor injuries after an attack. The dog had been involved in similar incidents and had been euthanised, with the agreement of the owner.

The other incidents saw a policeman bitten, and a third person receive a minor graze that did not require medical treatment.

Owners must ensure dogs are secure at home at all times, Milligan said. During the lockdown, she urged dog walkers to keep pets on a lead at all times, including in “off-lead” areas.

Mulligan said the incidents were frustrating for animal services staff, who were trying to avoid contact with people outside their bubble during the lockdown.
“More people are out exercising their dogs as a result of the lockdown, and it’s essential dogs are kept on leads when they’re being walked, even if an area is designated as off-lead. We’ve also had instances of dogs being walked on leads past properties where dogs have not been secure, and that has resulted in incidents.
“In a lot of cases it is as simple as ensuring gates are closed.”

Mulligan said it was “about common sense” and owners being responsible for their animals when their dogs are on and off their property.

“Even when there is not an actual attack, these incidents are frightening and distressing for people who are already under a lot of stress. It can also put unnecessary pressure on medical and veterinarian services. Several owners have had to seek treatment for their pets.”

Over the same period, neighbouring Carterton District Council has had no reports of incidents. “It’s very pleasing to see Carterton people are doing the right thing and keeping their dogs under control,” council chief executive Jane Davis said.