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Fatal dog attack: Elderly victim was well-known Moerewa local

Author
David Fisher and Avneesh Vincent,
Publish Date
Fri, 13 Oct 2023, 11:22am
Police outside an Otiria Rd property in Moerewa after an elderly woman died in a dog attack on Thursday. Photo / RNZ
Police outside an Otiria Rd property in Moerewa after an elderly woman died in a dog attack on Thursday. Photo / RNZ

Fatal dog attack: Elderly victim was well-known Moerewa local

Author
David Fisher and Avneesh Vincent,
Publish Date
Fri, 13 Oct 2023, 11:22am

The elderly woman killed in a dog attack while hanging out her washing in Moerewa was a well-known member of the community. 

She died yesterday afternoon at her Otiria Rd property. 

Auntie Rosie Reihana said the woman was “one of our kuia from way back”. Speaking with May Hati and Tuhi Pukeroa at the community’s second-hand shop, Reihana said the woman was a long-time resident who was known to all. 

She was a hard-working volunteer, often helping in the kitchen at nearby Ōtiria Marae. 

“It’s really hurting. She would awhi everybody. This is our kuia of this community. She is one of us,” Reihana said. 

Those walking Main St were openly comforting others, offering memories of the woman. 

“That family has always been contributors to the community.” 

A woman who lived on the same road was shocked when she learned this morning about her good friend’s death. She had last seen her a few days ago. 

The friend said the pair had been mates for years, and fondly recalled hanging around Moerewa together as teenagers. The dead woman is understood to have lived in Moerewa all her life. 

The friend believed the dog may have belonged to one of the woman’s family members. However, police have not made any official comments about the ownership of the dog. 

Police were alerted to the attack about 4.40pm on Thursday. A family member at the scene told RNZ the woman had been hanging out washing when a dog came on to the property and attacked her. 

Another resident who knew the woman said she believed the attack happened when the larger dog attacked a smaller dog and she tried to intervene. 

The woman, who was of small stature, was said to have got between the two dogs – at least one of which was believed to be a family pet – when the larger dog turned on her. 

Two other people were injured, one of whom was taken to Bay of Islands Hospital. 

A neighbour reportedly shot the dog before officers arrived. 

Whānau spanning four generations have gathered at the woman’s property this morning, with more arriving. The Advocate spoke to the woman’s husband, who asked for privacy on behalf of the family. 

Reihana said there were a lot of dogs in the community, of which many were running loose. In the wake of the tragedy, she planned to organise a meeting to try to resolve the dog issue. 

“There’s a lot of dogs around here.” 

Just days earlier, she said she had told one dog owner to keep it tied up, warning: “Someone is going to get hurt.” 

Other older members of the community spoke of concerns about dogs, with one saying she organised lifts to church even though it was close by. 

“There’s too many dogs.” 

SPCA’s General Manager for Animal Services Doctor Corey Regnerus-Kell emphasised the importance of responsible pet ownership. 

”Proper training, socialisation, and control of dogs are vital to prevent such heartbreaking events. We will continue our important work to increase awareness and education around responsible pet ownership, alongside other animal welfare organisations, which is critical to ensure the safety of both animals and the community.” 

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