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'He shouldn’t have died like that': Family dog fatally mauled in street

Aleyna Martinez,
Publish Date
Fri, 14 Jun 2024, 7:18am

'He shouldn’t have died like that': Family dog fatally mauled in street

Aleyna Martinez,
Publish Date
Fri, 14 Jun 2024, 7:18am

The grieving owner of a small dog chased by three large dogs then fatally mauled says more must be done about Rotorua’s roaming dog “problem”. 

Marley, a 5-year-old Maltipoo (Maltese and poodle mix), was killed last Tuesday night outside the Otonga Rd Dairy and Bottle-O in an attack captured by security cameras. 

Through tears, Marley’s owner Virgina Kennedy told the Rotorua Daily Post the violent death of the 5-year-old pet was “not fair”. 

“He was such a good-spirited dog and he loved the kids and he loved me. He shouldn’t have died like that,” Kennedy said. 

The mother of three daughters said the family moved to Springfield, near the shops, in February. The section was fenced but Marley was known to escape via a rabbit hole under the fence. 

Kennedy said the family spent the day of the attack at the hospital with a sick family member. Marley was around when they returned home exhausted and went to bed. 

She said about 6am a local dog walker – who had brought Marley home in the past – knocked on the door after finding his body outside the shops. 

The family sought security camera footage from the shops and were in shock when they saw the graphic attack, which had happened about 11.30pm. 

Eldest daughter Jaylin Kennedy said Marley had gone further than he usually would. 

Jaylin Kennedy with Marley when he was a puppy.Jaylin Kennedy with Marley when he was a puppy. 

“He started off at the dairy, circling himself up the car parks, and probably made it to the chocolate store, and he was out of the camera for about 10 seconds.” 

Footage showed Marley running down the footpath, pursued by the three bigger dogs, which caught up to him by the dairy. 

Another camera recorded two of the dogs savaging Marley. Just over a minute later, other footage showed the two attacking dogs running back down the footpath. 

Virginia Kennedy said she believed Marley, being so small, “would have died from the shock” of the attack. 

She said he weighed about 10kg, and believed the other dogs looked two or three times heavier. 

Marley, circled in red, is seen in CCTV footage running away from the trio of dogs.Marley, circled in red, is seen in CCTV footage running away from the trio of dogs. 

Roaming dogs ‘a problem’ 

Roaming dogs had been “a problem in Rotorua for years” and Kennedy said she was especially concerned about dangerous dogs on the loose at night. 

From her perspective: “Whether [Marley] was roaming out there or not, dangerous dogs like [the three attackers] shouldn’t be roaming around at night. 

“It’s my fault for allowing him to go out there, but [in my view] there’s still no reason for those dogs to be out like that”, Virginia said. 

She believed there would have been evidence of the attack on the other dogs when they went home. 

In her view: “Obviously, you’d see blood around the mouth or something going on.” 

Kennedy believed owners of dangerous or menacing dogs should “educate themselves” and take responsibility for their animals at night. 

Kennedy said, in her view: “Why have a dangerous-breed dog? That dog needs to be chained up if they can get out. 

In her opinion: “They could have killed a person.” 

She said she previously made the tough decision to put down their family Rottweiler after it attacked another dog and nipped someone while trying to get back to their old house after a move. 

Jaylin posted some of the footage on Facebook to see if anyone knew the three dogs and a woman in her network said she had seen them roaming elsewhere in the wider area. 

Marley was killed by two dogs estimated to be close to three times his size outside the Otonga Rd shops.Marley was killed by two dogs estimated to be close to three times his size outside the Otonga Rd shops. 

Owners responsible if dogs roam: Council 

Manager of community and regulatory services at Rotorua Lakes Council Kurt Williams said the incident was “very unfortunate and obviously very upsetting for the owner of the dog that was attacked”. 

“No dogs should be allowed to roam at any time. The obligation to prevent roaming rests squarely with dog owners who bear the ultimate responsibility of ensuring their dog is under control at all times. 

“Roaming dogs put people and animals at risk as well as creating problems for your neighbours and your community,” Williams said. 

He said the council relied on the community to report roaming dogs. 

Not every dog reported would be found and seized, but the information helped the council monitor trends and adapt its services when necessary. 

The Rotorua Daily Post reported in January that of the reported attacks in the 2022/23 year, only one led to a dog owner being prosecuted, according to the Rotorua Lakes Council. 

The council encouraged the community to report any dog-related matters on 07 348 4199 at any time. 

Tips for dog owners to prevent attacks 

- Keep your dog well-secured when unsupervised. -Keep the dog on a lead when in a public place. 
- Get a dog that suits your home. Have you got plenty of room for it to move around? 
- Make sure your dog has adequate daily exercise. 
- A fully fenced property is preferred. 
- Consider the cost of a dog before you get one. Dogs can cost at least $500 a year in food and supplies plus registration and vet fee. 
- Give the dog the attention it needs so it doesn’t get bored. Do you have the time? 
- Talk to children in your household about how to stay safe around dogs, even family pets. 

Aleyna Martinez is a multimedia journalist based in the Bay of Plenty. 

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