A Timaru dog owner is warning of the dangers of buying pets off social media, after his fox terrier was almost killed by a "menacing" dog in front of his five-year-old son.
Kelvin Wood's dog, Diva, required 50 stitches after she was attacked by a BULL TERRIER CROSS while out walking in Timaru on Wednesday.
THE OWNERS OF THE BULL TERRIER HAD ONLY RECENTLY PURCHASED IT FROM ITS PREVIOUS OWNERS ON FACEBOOK, and were unaware that it had previously been classed as a "menacing" dog by the Invercargill District Council. The dog has since been surrendered to the Timaru District Council to be euthanised.
Wood and his son, Riley, were out walking with Diva on Maple Crescent when a dog rushed at them from behind a fence. They carried on walking, but the dog jumped over the fence and started following them down the street.
"We went down this alley, but it seemed to track us," Wood said.
He picked up Diva, but the other dog started jumping up and trying to attack her. Fearing for the safety of his son, Wood placed Diva on the other side of a small fence in the alleyway in a bid to get the dog to leave.
The dog went straight through the fence instead.
"It latched straight onto our dog."
Other people in the area at the time rushed to help, but three people were not strong enough to pull the dog away from Diva. It eventually took a drenching from a hose before the dog let go, Wood said."Riley was absolutely screaming.
"We got them separated, she was a mess. There was a huge flap of skin, and blood everywhere."
Two men had to hold the other dog until animal control arrived, he said.
Luckily, Diva managed to pull through and is recovering well.
"She's a tough wee thing."
The incident had been incredibly traumatic for Riley, Wood said.
"He didn't sleep too good that night, I think he was replaying things."
Wood wanted people to make sure they did their homework before purchasing a pet online.
The owners of the dog were "absolutely gutted", and had no idea about its past, he said.
"They were very remorseful."
Both the Timaru and Mackenzie District Councils have echoed the warning.
Timaru District Council environmental services manager Paul Cooper said pet owners needed to look into the backgrounds of animals before they purchased them.
Cooper said the council was still deciding whether any further action would be taken over the attack on Diva.
Mackenzie District Council planning and regulation manager Nathan Hole said prospective pet owners needed to check with the council the animal is registered with to get an idea of its background.
"You can't just assume a dog's got a clean record," he said.
It was not just "menacing" behaviour that could be recorded. Other issues, such as barking, could also be identified during a check, he said.
The Timaru District Council's annual animal control report states the council received 81 reports of dogs attacking, rushing, or lunging at other animals in the year ended June 2015, up from 45 the previous year.
Reports of dogs attacking and rushing at people dropped, however, from 150 to 128.
In the Waimate District, the number of dog attacks on both animals and people dropped significantly.
There were two attacks on an animal between October 1 and December 31 2015, compared to six during the same period the year before.
No people were attacked by dogs over that period, down from one attack in 2014.