TWO Cairns women were left traumatized after a pair of unleashed dogs attacked them and mauled one of their own pooches, while the owner allegedly did nothing to call them off.
Cairns Regional Council officers yesterday met with the victims as part of their investigation into the attack, which happened at a popular walkway at Manunda last week.
One of the women was treated for shock after the ordeal while the other suffered a panic attack and a dog had to be rushed into surgery for extensive internal and external injuries.
It is one of 125 dog attacks reported to the council in the past three months.
The women are calling for more council action to prevent further attacks but the council says there is little they can do unless the owner of the attacking dog is caught with their animals unleashed.
Whitfield resident Florence Doyle, 77, with her chihuahua Myzcheff, and friend Maureen Wegger, 60, with her pomeranian-cross Ricky, were strolling along a walkway crossing Saltwater Creek last Wednesday at 5pm when they were met by a man walking his two fully-grown boxers.
The groups passed without incident, but it was a different story on the women’s route home when they passed the same dogs. This time the boxers were unleashed.
“When they spotted us carrying our little dogs they bolted through the creek and straight for us – it was terrifying,” Ms Doyle said.
The dogs made a beeline for Ms Wegger, launching on to her and bowling her over in their bid to pull Ricky out of her arms. “I’m only little so I was fearful for my life, and I still see them running at me in my nightmares now,” Ms Wegger said.
The boxers reportedly attacked the pomeranian-cross when Ms Wegger hit the ground until they were smacked away by Ms Doyle.
Ms Wegger collapsed, suffering from shock and was treated by attending ambulance officers. But the women said the owner of the attacking dogs did nothing to stop the attack and appeared to show no remorse.
“He simply came over the creek, put his dogs on their leads and walked off – he didn’t stop, he never looked back and he never asked how we were,” Ms Doyle said.
Ricky was put on a drip overnight at Cairns Veterinary Surgery with puncture wounds, deep lacerations, crushed muscles and bruised tissue in one of his legs.
Surgery the next morning revealed large portions of skin over his back and abdomen had detached from underlying tissue among further internal injuries. But the women said the ordeal could have been much worse.
“There’s a lot of children and mothers with prams that use that walkway and area, and there’s always dogs about not on leads going berserk by the creek,” Ms Doyle said.
“The council really needs to do more.
“They need to put signs up warning people to keep dogs leashed because even if it just saves the life of one dog, or even a person, it’s worth it.”
A council spokeswoman said there “should be no need for signage” demanding leashes as it was the owner’s obligation to enforce their use and keep their dog “under effective control at all times” unless in a specified off-leash area, where she said it was rare for such issues to arise.
Fines of $227 were issued when an owner was observed with a dog off-leash, she said, but the owner needed to be caught in the act by a Local Laws officer in order for a fine to be issued.
“In short, no sign equals leash required,” she said.
She said the incident was currently being investigated, but the dogs involved were yet to be identified.