11 May 2011

Penguin dies after dog attack

NEW ZEALAND - A little penguin was killed in a dog attack in Seaview, Lower Hutt, on the weekend.

Witness Anne Rodgers told The Hutt News that she saw a woman, who was with a man and two dogs, trying to hide the injured penguin under a bush.

"She was clearly ashamed that her dog had done that."

Mrs Rodgers called the SPCA, which took the bird to the Native Bird Rescue Trust, which in turn took it to Wellington Zoo. Unfortunately, the penguin was very badly injured and had no chance of surviving the attack.

Hutt City Animal Control manager Les Dalton told The Hutt News that a dog attack on a protected species was "very serious" and can carry penalties such as a jail sentence or a heavy fine. If the couple who were walking the dogs can be identified, the council will interview them and take appropriate action.

The witness wasn't sure which of the dogs had attacked the bird, but said that one of them was on an extendable lead. Mr Dalton said that legally an owner must have a dog under control, and a long stretchy lead offers only limited control.

He added that if a dog does attack another animal, the owner should do the "right thing" and assist the injured animal. In this case, the owner was probably deeply embarrassed, but he said that was no excuse for leaving the penguin to suffer.

Penguin killed in dog attack by Nicholas Boyack, 10 May 2011, The Hutt News

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