29 April 2019

Dog which brutally mauled therapy alpaca still not found six weeks later

| Glynis Quinlan
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Therapy alpacas Mimosa (left) and Hercules. Mimosa had to be euthanised six weeks ago after she was brutally mauled by an unleashed dog. Photos: Facebook (Alpaca Therapy).

The unleashed dog which brutally mauled and caused the death of a therapy alpaca in Giralang has still not been found more than six weeks after the attack occurred.

ACT Domestic Animal Services and the Australian Federal Police have been jointly investigating the incident which occurred on the evening of March 12 but at this stage, they have still not located the dog or its owner.

According to ACT City Services Minister Chris Steel, all leads have been thoroughly investigated but haven’t yet led to results.

There was a strong community outcry after the dog savaged Mimosa, the therapy alpaca, while she was she walking on the bike path adjacent to Baldwin Drive at about 6:45 pm with her owner, Alpaca Therapy founder Nils Lantzke, his friend and fellow therapy alpaca Hercules.

The dog broke both of Mimosa’s front legs, biting them to the bone and injuring the terrified animal so badly that she had to be euthanised. Shockingly, while the attack took place, the dog’s owner filmed it on his phone and did nothing to stop it.

“You know, I’ve been visiting the hospice with the alpacas for 12 years. I have seen so many people dying but I sat there next to Mimosa crying because she has helped so many other people but I couldn’t do anything for her,” Nils told Region Media at the time.

There was a community outcry after the death of Mimosa (pictured).

Mr Steel said that the investigation into the violent dog attack is continuing and urged anyone who has more evidence to come forward.

“Investigations are still underway and we’re seeking feedback from the community about whether they have any further evidence that can be brought forward,” Mr Steel told ABC Canberra on Friday (26 April).

“Both Domestic Animal Services and the Australian Federal Police are working together and will consider any evidence but at this point, the owner of the dog in question hasn’t been found.

“We’re still seeking input from the community about whether they know the whereabouts of the person,” he said.

“All of the leads that have been brought forward have been thoroughly investigated but at this stage, we haven’t been able to find the particular dog owner.”

The morning after Mimosa’s death Nils told Region Media that he was empty with the shock and said: “I just hope his dog doesn’t hurt or kill somebody else”.

However, even then Nils was determined not to let the attack stop his therapy work, saying he would search for another young female alpaca to be trained as a therapy animal and companion for Hercules.

“I’ve been doing this for 15 years now including 12 at the hospice. It’s a roadblock, but it won’t finish me,” he said at the time.

Glynda Bluhm from Alpaca Magic and Nils Lantzke of Alpaca Therapy load Paprika and her mum into the Alpaca Therapy van in mid-March.

Around a week after the attack, Nils’ determination bore fruit when he was able to take delivery of a three-month-old baby alpaca called Paprika, thanks to the generosity of several local business owners and Hit 104.7’s weekend team.

Nils is grateful and “pretty overwhelmed” by this generosity and also the strength of the reaction from the Canberra community and further afield to Mimosa’s death.

Little Paprika is already winning hearts.

He’s had personal messages from as far away as Texas, condolences from the Australian Alpaca Association and the RSPCA among others, as well as offers of alpacas from breeders at Leeton, Captains Flat and Goulburn and offers of donations.

“When I go out to the Mental Health Unit or the hospice I’m focusing on those people at that time and I tend not to think of the wide-ranging effect of the work,” Nils told Region Media after taking delivery of Paprika.

“I’m just glad I can do it for people, that I have the means to make them feel happy for a minute.”

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The ACT Government should offer a substantial reward for any information that leads to the identification of the owner of the dog, together with a letter drop in the local area, notifying residents of the reward.

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