2 Dec 2015

Irish wolfhounds' owner to be prosecuted

5:37 pm on 2 December 2015

The Dunedin City Council will prosecute the owner of three Irish wolfhounds that attacked a woman, leaving her seriously injured.

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Irish wolfhounds are amongst the tallest dog breeds in the world (file). Photo: 123rf.com

The woman required surgery after the mauling, which happened at 7.40am yesterday in the suburb of Mornington.

She was out delivering the Otago Daily Times when she was attacked by the dogs, who her employer said she was familiar with.

Dunedin City Council spokesman Graham McKerracher said all three dogs had been put down.

The council had met with the owner of the dogs and had decided to prosecute, he said.

Earlier today, Dunedin City Council senior animal control officer Peter Hanlin said the dogs' owner was extremely upset over the attack and was co-operating.

"An extremely responsible dog owner, and certainly these dogs had never come to our attention before."

Irish wolfhounds are giant-sized dogs, and are amongst the tallest breeds in the world.

National Kennel Club veterinarian Becky Murphy said they were historically bred as combat dogs to watch over sleeping armies at night and later for hunting wolves.

"Maybe those instincts have come out for some reason ... All dogs do have that hunting pack instinct in the back there, and sometimes unfortunately it does come forward."

However, Irish wolfhounds were generally a sweet and gentle breed and were not normally involved in such attacks.

Otago Daily Times circulation manager Dave Bretz said in 20 years he had never heard of such an attack.

"You have the odd incidents. But for this to happen with someboy who was familiar, at least a little bit, with the animals, and wasn't some random dog that got out of somebody's property - this is very rare."

Mr Bretz said the animals involved were familiar to the woman, who shared four newspaper delivery rounds with her husband.

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