East Coast Conservation Services Manager, John Lucas says at this time of the year NZ fur seals are coming ashore to rest and this brings them into contact with people and their dogs. A small NZ seal pup died following a dog attack at Wainui beach recently.
In two separate incidents seals were killed by vehicles at night (Tatapouri and Tokomaru Bay). While a women at Mahia was bitten by a seal when intervening between an uncontrolled dog and a seal, requiring medical assistance and stitches.
“Dog attacks are preventable if owners take responsibility for their dogs while at a public place, such as a beach” says Mr Lucas.
The seal pup carcass was sent to Massey University for a necropsy that confirmed it was shaken by the neck causing severe bruising. There was no disease or injury present, and it may have died from resulting shock.
There was a similar incident at Midway beach, Gisborne last year and the dog owner was not found. While a dog attack in Muriwai Beach, Auckland earlier this year proved costly for an owner with a $1000 fine and an order for the dog to be put down.
Reminder to the public if you find a seal that is severely injured, entangled in marine debris or being harassed by people or dogs, call the DOC Hotline 0800 362 468.