Northland Dog Attack

With thanks to contributing author, Jordyn Skye

On August the 5th, near the Northland town of Panguru, a pack of dogs killed  Neville Thomson, a 69-year-old man.  Mr Thomson usually lived on his own, but he had let a friend stay with him.  It was the friend’s dogs that killed him.

The friend had bought a number of dogs to the property.  Some dogs had pups and there were 25 dogs on the property when Mr Thomson was mauled.  The Mr Thomson had 2 dogs of his own.  These dogs were kept separate from the friend’s dogs.  They were not involved in the attack.

A pack of four dogs killed Mr Thomson. Three dogs were captured and later destroyed, and one female dog escaped. The other 25 dogs were impounded. People were warned to avoid any stray dogs in the area.  The breed of all the dogs was Neapolitan-Mastiff and Bull dog cross.  These are beautiful dogs, but they are big and strong and usually bred as guard dogs. None of the dogs were registered, but they were well cared-for. Dogs in New Zealand must be registered at three months of age.  The registration is renewed annually.  In towns, there is a limit to how many dogs you can own, but in the countryside, there is usually no limit. A pound is run by local governments that will confiscate unregistered or stray dogs.   If a dog is impounded, the owner can pay a fine to get their dog back. If nobody claims the dog, the government will try to find a new home for the dog, but if the dog is dangerous, or a new home can’t be found, the dog will be put to sleep. Of course, there are many nice dogs in New Zealand, and this kind of attack is very rare. If you would like to see some typical New Zealand dogs, or if you would like to adopt a nice dog, you can try this link here.


Pack: a group of dogs

Pup: a baby dog

Maul: to use teeth and biting to attack

Captured: caught, the past of “catch”

Destroyed: in this context, “destroyed” means “killed”. This word is used to describe the act of killing an animal for legal reasons.

Put to sleep: to kill an animal by euthanasia

Escaped: ran away; avoided capture

Impound: to put an animal in the pound. The pound is a kind of animal prison.

Confiscated: Taken away from the owner for legal reasons.

Stray dog: a dog that is wandering away from home and not supervised by a person.

Well cared-for: This is an adjective phrase that means someone has taken good care of something. In the case of dogs, the dog is clean and not too hungry.

Guard dog: a dog that protects a property from unwanted visitors

Register: listed with the government. In order to register a dog, you fill out a form and pay money to the government. If your dog is lost, and an animal control officer finds your dog, they will call you and give you back your dog. They will also make you pay more money!

Bred for: To breed a dog is to control the way that it has pups. Many dog breeds were kept and bred for a purpose. For example, Collies were bred by people because they are good at working on farms. Collies are bred for farming.

Cross: a mix of breeds

Breed: a type of animal. Collie is a breed of dog; Siamese is a breed of cat.

Renew: When registration is too old, it expires. To make it new again, you have to renew it. This involves paying more money.

Annually: once a year

Fine: money you have to pay to the government as a punishment

Claim: to say that something is yours

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