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‘Awful dog attack’

Amy van Wijk, attacked by a dog over the weekend, was smiling again in Masterton on Monday. PHOTOS/HAYLEY GASTMEIER

Dog latched on and hung off victim
Owner flees without trying to help

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Witnesses to a dog’s attack on a young Masterton woman described the incident as “awful”, saying the animal latched on and was hanging off her thigh.

The owner of the dog did not come to the aid of the woman and the police and Masterton District Council have yet to identify them.

Amy van Wijk attends King Street Artworks every day and was walking back to the centre after getting her lunch at Subway on Saturday when the dog rushed her. It has been described as a brown, red-nosed pit bull, with a wide blue collar.

Volunteers working at the Wairarapa Resource Centre on King St heard the commotion happening across the road and ran to the aid of the 24-year-old, who has an intellectual disability.

“She was screaming,” one of the volunteers said.

Amy’s injured upper thigh.

“It was awful. I ran out and the dog was hanging off her leg and it was off the ground.

“Another volunteer came to grab a pole and was going to hit it off her, but the dog saw him coming and ran off down Queen St.”

Amy now has a massive bruise and teeth puncture wounds on her upper thigh.

“The dog bit me – bad dog,” she said on Monday.

“Some people came to try and help me.”

Witnesses called emergency services and Wellington Free Ambulance and police were at the scene when Amy’s dad, John van Wijk, arrived.

Fortunately she didn’t need stitches, and her wound was cleaned up at Masterton Medical, where she received a tetanus shot and was given antibiotics and pain killers.

He said his daughter had always had a fear of dogs, and he was surprised to see her in relatively high spirits after the attack.

“But she wasn’t very happy on the day,” he said.

“I’d hate to think what was going through her mind at the time.”

Amy, who has a knack for knitting, crocheting, and weaving, agreed she had been “brave” throughout the ordeal.

Witnesses said they saw a woman with the dog after it fled who they think was probably its owner.

A council spokesperson said the council was concerned by news of the attack.

“We are working with police to gather more information.

“We are also hoping to view CCTV footage from businesses in the area in an effort to get a better understanding of what occurred.

“We are urging anyone who may have seen the incident to give us a call.”

Police notified the council immediately after the attack and a patrol of the streets in the area was initiated, but no dogs were found.

“All dog owners need to be reminded of their responsibilities around controlling animals.”

Dogs are not allowed on Queen St. They are permitted on King St but must be on a lead.

Any dogs classified as a “menacing” breed, should also be wearing a muzzle under the Dog Act 1996.

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