The family of a man killed in Northland on Thursday say he was attacked by his friend’s dogs.
A pack of six dogs were involved in the attack on Neville Thomson. The 69-year-old was later found dead at his home in the remote community of Panguru in Hokianga.
Two dogs remain at large after police shot one and captured two others on Thursday. One of them would have returned Friday morning.
Neville’s son, Te Ahu Thomson, told 1News a friend stayed with his father and claims the friend had about 19 dogs, some of which were aggressive.
Te Ahu said his father had owned dogs all his life and his two current dogs were kept in the house to keep them away from his friend’s dogs.
Thomson’s son said his father’s death was a “tragedy” and he wants people to know he was not attacked by his own dogs.
The 69-year-old’s daughter, Nataria Moore, said the friend’s dogs had already shown “terrible behavior”.
“He was actually trying to get him out [the friend] because he didn’t want those dogs around him.
“And he tried to protect his two dogs through it all by keeping them locked inside. They weren’t involved at all.”
Moore said her father had a “big heart” and helped a friend who needed a place to live.
“Unfortunately, he took advantage of [his] heart and brought his – not sure how many – but a lot of dogs with him. »
She said the nature of her father’s death shook her family and the community.
“We’re just surviving. It’s a shock. When I found out, I felt like the air had been taken out of the room,” she said.
“It shocked our community, it shocked our family.”
Thomson’s daughter-in-law Stella Matthews described the dogs as being “abandoned” by the friend on the property.
“They weren’t his [Thomson’s] dogs. I don’t know how you would expect a 69-year-old man who was barely healthy himself to voluntarily care for 25 dogs.”
Matthews said Thomson “was always so kind to everyone” and “pampered” his dogs.
She said the friend kept her father’s house and brought her dogs. Her father had been “all the way” to help her brother, she said. During his absence, about 14 puppies were born.
Te Ahu described his father as “a wonderful member of the community” and said “everyone loved him”.
The Far North District Council’s general manager of district services, Dr Dean Myburgh, said around 25 dogs were taken from the property to his shelter in Kaitāia after being “rounded up”.
He said they were unregistered and some were puppies. The main dog breeds were the neo-mastiff and the bull dog crossbreed.
Myburgh described the dogs as being in “very good condition”.
“It’s unclear why there were so many dogs there. It’s just something the police will have to find out, and we’ll help them where we can.”
A property history check revealed that there were no active registered dogs.
Neville’s whānau set up a Give a small page apply for funeral expenses.