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Unleashed dog savages therapy alpaca while owner films attack

By Genevieve Jacobs 13 March 2019 129

Nils Lantzke with two of his trained therapy alpacas. Photo: Supplied.

“I’ve had so much to do with death,” says Alpaca Therapy founder Nils Lantzke, his voice choking with tears, “Mimosa had helped so many other people but there was nothing I could do for her.”

Last night an unleashed dog savaged Mimosa the therapy alpaca, breaking both her front legs, biting them to the bone and injuring the terrified animal so badly that she had to be euthanised. Nils says the most shocking thing is that while the attack was taking place the dog’s owner filmed it on his phone.

Nils and a friend were walking Mimosa and fellow therapy alpaca Hercules on the bike path adjacent to Baldwin Drive in Giralang at about 6.45 pm when they saw a man approaching with an unleashed dog described as “a black Staffy”. Nils and the alpacas moved onto the grass to avoid the dog but the owner approached despite being asked to keep clear.

“The dog launched into Hercules first. He’s still a young one and he went into classic attack mode on his hind legs with his front legs folded up. I was yelling at the bloke but he wouldn’t do anything, he had his phone out.

“I had a stick and was whacking the dog, and then the dog went for Mimosa who is a tiny little thing. My friend Catherine had to let go of the lead or she would have been pulled to the ground herself.”

The badly injured animal ran away and but nearby residents helped Nils to track her down. “She’d tried to get home. She was lying on the grass at the end of our street in terrible pain. There was a lot of blood. I got a blanket to cover her because of the shock while we sat with her and called the vet.

“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.”

Mimosa’s injuries were devastating and she was euthanised last night. This morning, Nils and his wife took her to a friend’s farm where she’ll be buried, leaving rosebuds with her body.

“She was like my daughter and Hercules is my adopted son. I bought her six years ago and she was wild as anything. I suggested to the owner that if I trained her for therapy work, she’d be more saleable, but after I’d worked with her I didn’t want her to go to another home. So I put her on layby and bought her as a Christmas present to myself.

“She did all that work at the hospice and in the hospital’s Mental Health Unit. There are young women in there who have been through dreadful stuff, and they don’t talk when they come in. They’d take Mimosa for a walk and she’d start them talking.

“She worked with autistic kids and a girl with epilepsy who had grand mal seizures and couldn’t be left alone. Mimosa would physically support her and protect the girl with her body when she had to sit down.”

Nils says that Hercules has been badly frightened by the attack and slept near the gate last night, hoping Mimosa would come home and crying out for her.

Nils will search for another young female alpaca whom he can train as a therapy animal and companion for Hercules. But the attack won’t stop his therapy work. “I’ve been doing this for 15 years now including 12 at the hospice. It’s a roadblock, but it won’t finish me.”

At 66, he’s devoted to helping others although he concedes he’d sometimes like some help with walking the animals and caring for them. Nils says he is “eternally grateful” for the support and care the community has shown him.

“I was really angry last night, but anger doesn’t get you anywhere in a case like this, it’s a wasted emotion. I was hurting enough already and to be honest, I feel empty with the shock. I just hope his dog doesn’t hurt or kill somebody else.”

Alpaca Therapy has appealed for anyone with information, including anyone who sees the video of the attack, to let them know or contact Domestic Animal Services.

Alpaca Therapy can be reached via Facebook.


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90 Responses to
Unleashed dog savages therapy alpaca while owner films attack
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1:20 pm 13 Mar 19

Horrific, so sorry to read this. Mimosa was a lovely creature and a pleasure to spot around the suburb.

1:16 pm 13 Mar 19

Too sad - cannot understand the brutality against these gentle creatures.

1:14 pm 13 Mar 19

How much is an Alpaca.... should we crowd fund for Nils...?

1:13 pm 13 Mar 19

Brost Freezeman this happened along the stretch of Baldwin Drive at Giralang.

1:13 pm 13 Mar 19

So did the grub who do this get caught ? Arrested ? Have his dog taken from him

1:10 pm 13 Mar 19

So awful. So sad. 😥

1:07 pm 13 Mar 19

Please tell me the low life who owned the dog has been identified and the dog put down.

1:05 pm 13 Mar 19

That is just disgusting. So sorry for your loss of beautiful mimosa. Very distressing for you.

1:03 pm 13 Mar 19

Sooo horible

1:01 pm 13 Mar 19

I am sorry for the loss of this alpaca and often saw them out for walks. They gave great joy to the community. I live in Kaleen and often walk the paths of Kaleen and Giralang. I do so with a stick because I too am frightened about dog attacks. I have been a dog owner and have many responsible friends with dogs, all sorts of dogs. Responsible people act responsibly, they and their dogs are not the problem. But there is an element in the community that doesn’t care and actually get joy in spreading fear. Attacks like this should be subject to the criminal law and the owners should be hunted down as if they themselves committed the attack. We need stronger laws and more importantly, enforcement by police! This could have been a child or elderly person walking innocently. It’s sad to say but an unsavoury element is creeping into Kaleen, with recent road rage attacks, bottle shop robbery and assault and car burnings. What is the ACT Government doing about this, beyond feeling sorry for the offenders? They can quote as many improved crime statistics as they like but crime in Kaleen is an issue!

Gaffable 12:59 pm 13 Mar 19

The owner of the dog needs some time in prison. What a monstrously evil thing to do.

12:53 pm 13 Mar 19

I hope he is found and put in jail and sadly the dog put to sleep....

12:52 pm 13 Mar 19

I am so sorry for your loss. I.met your two beautiful alpaca at the hospital last week and it brought such joy to me and my father while we were visiting mum recovering a major surgery. Thank you for your service and care. RIP gentle Mimosa

12:48 pm 13 Mar 19

Nils and Steph are the most loving and caring people

12:41 pm 13 Mar 19

People are garbage. Waiting for all the staffy owners to carry on about how they wouldn't hurt a flea etc.

    1:55 pm 13 Mar 19

    Kriso Hadskini generally they wouldn’t, but I have to say, I never allowed mine to be off lead. This dog owner disgusts me. I hope to god they find him 😡

    4:30 pm 13 Mar 19

    Ah.....if it's not the breed, why do we not see Staffies or JRTs or Spaniels herding sheep? Why are Maltese Terriers not guide dogs? Why are miniature poodles not guard dogs?

    Breeding most certainly plays a part. Environment also plays a part. Mix the two the wrong way and you can have a problem.

    People need to quit being in denial about their dog's breed not contributing to their behaviour.

    11:06 pm 13 Mar 19

    I don’t trust my little Moodle off lead. At 4 He has suddenly started chasing people and nipping. I thought he couldn’t even hurt a fly but I was wrong to forget he is a dog.

12:39 pm 13 Mar 19

Rest In Peace beautiful Mimosa ❤️

12:38 pm 13 Mar 19

This is callous and disgusting. Whichever political party in power next needs to fix the regulations around this. Because the rules now are not sufficient.

12:38 pm 13 Mar 19

If he is found he needs to be locked up!!!! 😡😡😡

12:37 pm 13 Mar 19

Very sad.

12:36 pm 13 Mar 19

I'm horrified. I love both Alpacas and Dogs, but I know dogs can attack. Poor gentle Alpaca, i'm disgusted by the dog owner.

12:32 pm 13 Mar 19

This is absolutely disgusting. I have had the joy of meeting these beautiful alpacas who bring so much joy to so many. RIP. Please Canberra let’s work together to find this man who thinks it’s okay to stand by and film such an awful event 😢

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