New Zealand / Life And Society

Auckland suburb of Mount Albert on alert after roaming dog attacks

11:29 am on 6 March 2024

A generic image of a dog's teeth. Photo: 123RF

Animal Management is warning residents of an Auckland suburb that a pair of dangerous dogs are on the loose and to keep an eye on their cats.

The council said they have had two complaints in Mt Albert, but there is evidence of more attacks.

A Mt Albert resident, who RNZ has agreed not to name, said she came across a frightening sight when out driving in her neighbourhood one night.

Two dogs were zig zagging around the road like they were hunting.

She followed them down a driveway just in time to see them grab a cat.

"You know how you see dogs tugging at toys? One of them was holding on to one end and the other one was shaking its head, and I was still screaming and tooting and the neighbours came running."

"I was still screaming and tooting and the neighbours came running" Mt Albert resident

The dogs match the description of a pair often seen around the neighbourhood, and acting manager of Animal Management Aaron Neary said it was likely the number of attacks was higher than the two complaints his office has received.

"We are aware of the posts on Facebook and missing cat posters around the area as well, indicating that it is a a bigger problem than is being reported to us and obviously it is distressing for the public in Mt Albert, particularly cat owners."

The dogs, one tan, one brindle, feature frequently in posts on community social media pages. The Mt Albert resident who witnessed the pair carrying out the attack said it was a horrific sight.

"They trotted off like there was nothing wrong. It was awful. I had to stop and speak to the neighbours at that point, obviously because they were distressed and yelling."

Neary said animal management officers were on the lookout for the offending dogs.

"We are investigating as we do with every report that comes our way. The officers have been working hard, patrolling the areas, visiting properties of interests and just speaking with witnesses as well, but have so far been unsuccessful in locating the dogs."

Local councillor Julie Fairey who was aware of the two dangerous dogs said roaming canines were a problem across Auckland.

"People should be able to feel safe walking around their local neighbourhood, you know, their kids walking to school, that kind of stuff. So, for me, it's the uncertainty that it creates."

Fairey said the dog population has been increasing since the pandemic, putting pressure on council services to keep them under control, to the point where another shelter might be necessary.

"The fact we were looking at potentially do we need as much pound capacity as we have three to four years ago, and now it's like we might actually need another one. That's a really good indicator, I think, of the explosion."

There were 12,737 callouts for roaming dogs in the July 2022-June 2023 period, according to the Animal Management annual report, and 1339 callouts for dog attacks on other animals.

Animal Management has visited multiple properties looking for the two dogs and said anyone who sees roaming dogs in the area should report them to the council.