NEWS

Stray Dogs Attack

Horrifying incident at Newtown leaves man hospitalised with ear, legs and back scarred Father of victim says dog owners and authorities should bear the responsibility Agriculture’s Stray Dog Unit considering tougher laws to control stray dog population
05 Oct 2020 12:51
Stray Dogs Attack
Anasa Koroitamana points at the driveway where a young man was bitten by stray dogs at Newtown, Nasinu on October 4, 2020. Photo: Kelera Sovasiga

The father of a man who was attacked and severely wounded by stray dogs in Newtown, Nasinu, is not happy about the lack of responsibility shown by dog owners in his community.

Jimi Coqari’s son, while returning home after 10pm on Monday, was attacked by a group of dogs in the area.

He suffered major injuries to his lower and upper body.

Mr Coqari, who declined to reveal the son’s name, said his son was hospitalised for a week because of the seriousness of the injuries he suffered. The son, who did not want to talk, works for a media company.

He said stray dog attacks in the Newtown area were an ongoing issue for a number of years and the inability of authorities to address the issue was disappointing.

“Community members fear for their lives even when trying to come out of their homes to go somewhere because this has been an ongoing issue,” Mr Coqari said.

“It’s not only stray dogs that roam these areas, there are dogs as well that have owners but are not licensed, and are roaming freely, attacking humans in the area.

“People have to arm themselves with sticks and stones to protect themselves from an attack.

“It has even gone to the extent where some people have their dresses, pants and shorts stripped off because of the extent of the attack by dogs.”

Mr Coqari said luckily, people were escaping a near-death situation.

He also said adults were the ones attacked mostly and relevant authorities should take action before it becomes life threatening.

“Dog owners need to know that owning a dog comes with responsibilities, we are talking about life and death here and no one should be living in fear because of others irresponsible actions.

“They need to tie their dogs if it is harmful or lock them up in their compounds so it does not harm any human being.”

 

Stray Dog Unit

Permanent Secretary for Agriculture Ritesh Dass said their stray dog unit was in the process of responding to calls from communities to control stray dog population.

“So it’s a long term situation, it’s sad what has happened to yet another victim in the past week and that is why we are working so hard to address this issue of stray dogs because when left uncontrolled they can be harmful to the community,” he said.

“We get requests from communities on this issue and we deploy our resources at the earliest making an effort to trap and neuter the dogs and release them again.

“It does not immediately solve the issue but long term it will address the issue of stray dogs in Fiji.”

He is urging the public to be responsible and take proper care of their pets to stop the population of stray dogs in the country.

If trapping and releasing does not address the problem, Mr Dass said law changes and extreme measures would be taken.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) Fiji Clinic and Shelter Manager, Shaneel Narayan is also urging pet owners to take ownership of their pets and be responsible to avoid harming members of the public.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

Feedback:  inoke.rabonu@fijisun.com.fj

 



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