DEVASTATED: Jake Lewis and Charmaine Robold, with 20-month-old Kalani. Picture: Simone De Peak.
REO,amalteseterriercross,waslazinginhisowners’NelsonBayfrontyardthe dayanotherdog walked up and mauled him to death.
That was Monday. Charmaine Robold and Jake Lewis looked up to seea large mixed-breed dog withtheir dogin its jawsshakinghard. It would be their last daywith their petof nine years.
“We were in our front yard getting ready for family to come over, and Reo was sun-baking there,” Ms Robold said.
MISSED: Reo, a maltese terrier cross, was euthanased after being mauled by a bigger dog in a Nelson Bay front yard.
“Jake has ripped itsmouth open to get our dog out. He’s had him since he was five months old.”
Reo was euthanised early Tuesdayat theNewcastle Animal Referral andEmergency Centre. VeterinarianWendy Fishersaid the centre hadhadan influx of dogsattacked by other dogs since Christmas.
The reasons arevaried.People get puppies for Christmas and have trouble socialising them; holidaymakers let their dogsoff-lead; there are simply more dogs about.
“The nastiest injuries are big dog on little dog attacks where they can penetrate a cavity and pick them up and shake them,” Dr Fisher said.
“In Reo’s case, you could see his lungs from the outside. His left-hand chest wall was badly damaged and he had four ribs that weren’t just fractured, butvery severely displaced.”
TOO LATE: Vets worked to save Reo, but he suffered lung injuries and had four ribs (right side of x-ray) “severely displaced”.
Though often “lovely” towards humans,staffordshire bull terriers frequently attack other dogs, Dr Fisher said.
Ms Robold and Mr Lewis think the dog that attackedReo belonged to visitorsand have filed a report with Port Stephens Council.
They don’t know how to explain itto their 20-month-olddaughterKalani, butwant their experienceto be a lesson to dogowners.
People should invest as much vigilance in walking a dog as in driving a car,Rob Stabler, a Newcastleanimal behaviour and welfare consultant, said.
“Off-lead, in my opinion, is an accident waiting to happen. There’s some bullying that happens.Some dogs will get around being unpleasant,” Dr Stabler said.
“Dogs don’t need to play with other dogs. Everyone thinks they should befrolickingon the beachbut it’s not really necessary.”
Signs that a dog might attackinclude a straightened tail, raised hackles,wide stance or, moreseriously, a“freeze”.
The best way to placate a dogin afreeze is to whistle, click or clap, Dr Stabler said, rather than yell.