Unleashed dog savages therapy alpaca while owner films attack

Genevieve Jacobs 14 March 2019 114

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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114 Responses to Unleashed dog savages therapy alpaca while owner films attack
Stuart Mawbey Stuart Mawbey 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.

Kay Jones Kay Jones 12:37 pm 13 Mar 19

Very sad.

Trish Roberts Trish Roberts 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.

Catherine Anne Catherine Anne 12:38 pm 13 Mar 19

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

Ethan Sharp Ethan Sharp 12:39 pm 13 Mar 19

Rest In Peace beautiful Mimosa ❤️

Kriso Hadskini Kriso Hadskini 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.

    Andrew Bennett Andrew Bennett 12:59 pm 13 Mar 19

    I have a staffy and 9 alpacas my staffy doesn't hurt them, it's the way the dog is brought up.

    Sharon May Sharon May 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 😡

    Heather Wilkins Heather Wilkins 2:03 pm 13 Mar 19

    Why make it about a breed? All dogs can kill!!!!!! Not all owners would stand by and watch!!! The person is the issue!!!

    Chris Kellahan Chris Kellahan 2:14 pm 13 Mar 19

    People are garbage, yes. Dogs are a result of how we raise them.

    Kriso Hadskini Kriso Hadskini 4:02 pm 13 Mar 19

    Heather Wilkins Have you seen the jaws on staffy's ...uktra wide, lockable fighting dog jaws.

    Sarah Kentwell Sarah Kentwell 4:22 pm 13 Mar 19

    Kriso Hadskini it’s not the dog, it’s the owner, and the way they’re brought up and the way they’re treated.

    Jackie White Jackie White 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.

    Nate Mooré Nate Mooré 4:54 pm 13 Mar 19

    Jackie White just like people...

    Annie BC Annie BC 6:14 pm 13 Mar 19

    I have a staffy and she is beautiful and loving and incredibly emotionally tuned. But as much as I love her, I just feel that there is an unknown part of her that she may not even be aware of. For this reason I chose a lead unless it's a completely safe space. This news is too sad 😔

    I have no acceptable words for the one filming

    Julie Hunter Julie Hunter 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.

    Jessica Dabro Jessica Dabro 9:24 pm 14 Mar 19

    Our staffodshire bull terrier was a certified therapy dog for nursing homes. The most gentle and patient animal you could meet. I agree that if that particular dog had more of a hunting instinct it should not be allowed off leash. Shameful and disgusting that the owner didn’t intervene.

Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis 12:48 pm 13 Mar 19

Nils and Steph are the most loving and caring people

Sunita Kumar Sunita Kumar 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

Jackie Fuller Jackie Fuller 12:53 pm 13 Mar 19

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

Gaffable Gaffable 12:59 pm 13 Mar 19

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

Theresa Green Theresa Green 1:03 pm 13 Mar 19

Sooo horible

Jenny Koch Jenny Koch 1:05 pm 13 Mar 19

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

Michelle McKenzie Michelle McKenzie 1:10 pm 13 Mar 19

So awful. So sad. 😥

Laurina Dowling Laurina Dowling 1:13 pm 13 Mar 19

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

Tan Choi Heng Tan Choi Heng 1:13 pm 13 Mar 19

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

Laurina Dowling Laurina Dowling 1:14 pm 13 Mar 19

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

    Beck Bianco Beck Bianco 1:54 pm 13 Mar 19

    Laurina Dowling I’d donate to get a new alpaca

    Krzysztof Jakubaszek Krzysztof Jakubaszek 1:59 pm 13 Mar 19

    Laurina Dowling me too!! Let get him another one!! Also all dogs to be leashes in public area!!

    Dan Backhouse Dan Backhouse 2:35 pm 13 Mar 19

    Beautiful gesture but please make sure Nils is happy to go along. I know if any of my pets passed away, I'd still need to mourn before getting another pet.

    Annemarie Ashton Wyatt Annemarie Ashton Wyatt 2:54 pm 13 Mar 19

    Alpaca Therapy is a not for profit, I am sure donations would be welcome to help with vet costs and ongoing care, as well as future purchase of another alpaca when Nils is ready. Not every alpaca has the temperament to be a therapy animal, as they have to be much more than pets, and Nils will know how to best do this.

    Kristen Dixon Kristen Dixon 3:10 pm 13 Mar 19

    This is what I thought, I would be more than happy to help out.

    Laurina Dowling Laurina Dowling 4:39 pm 13 Mar 19

    at all times!

    Laurina Dowling Laurina Dowling 4:40 pm 13 Mar 19

    well, Nils sounds like a beautiful person!

    Laurina Dowling Laurina Dowling 5:12 pm 13 Mar 19

    of course ......

    Beck Bianco Beck Bianco 5:14 pm 13 Mar 19

    Dan Backhouse alpaca are pack animals and can misbehave if they aren’t with other alpaca. Nails mentioned in this article he will look at getting Hercules a new friend. I understand it’s a difficult time for him and Hercules and it will be hard to replace his beloved pet but it’ll help the other alpaca adjust.

    Rebeca Papillaud Rebeca Papillaud 7:13 pm 13 Mar 19

    Laurina Dowling of this goes ahead let me know please

    Laurina Dowling Laurina Dowling 7:16 pm 13 Mar 19

    i will ....

    Renee Leah Renee Leah 10:46 pm 13 Mar 19

    Following post, keen to hear outcome on crowd fund 😥

    Rachel Lee Rachel Lee 8:03 pm 14 Mar 19

    Laurina Dowling I’m keen to donate

Linda Leavitt Linda Leavitt 1:16 pm 13 Mar 19

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

Zoe Ayliffe Wagner Zoe Ayliffe Wagner 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.

Aine Dowling Aine Dowling 1:21 pm 13 Mar 19

How terribly sad. I'm so tired of walking my GSD (on a lead) and meeting off lead in-your-face dogs whose owners abuse me for telling them it's not an off lead area. Why can't we have signs put up indicating that it's not off lead and fines apply. Hit the hip pocket and owners may become more responsible. RIP Mimosa.

    Aine Dowling Aine Dowling 3:48 pm 13 Mar 19

    Bee Costello I understand that, but I think signage and mention of illegality and fines may encourage people to comply. When I tell people that it's a legal requirement for their dog to be on a lead they look at me as if I'm making it up. Signs are noticeable in off lead areas but not in on lead areas, which is almost every local park/oval and laneway across Canberra.

    Patrick J Pentony Patrick J Pentony 3:50 pm 13 Mar 19

    Aine Dowling I think we would need rangers to actually start fining people for things to change. Could be a great revenue raiser for the gov

    Jane Woodrow Jane Woodrow 5:25 pm 13 Mar 19

    If a human is filming something so terrible, I imagine he was looking to do something like this and would deliberately let them off a lead to do so. Beyond barbaric.

    Louise Criddle Louise Criddle 6:27 pm 13 Mar 19

    Patrick J Pentony I think they should start fining people also, and judges need to use the power they have and impose penalties allowed

    Marcia Denman Marcia Denman 7:56 pm 13 Mar 19

    just for goodness sakes, put all dogs on a lead. I am not a fan of dogs but had to deal with a dog owner at Bunnings Tuggeranong last weekend who was positive I would just love her adorable dog. Really ? We ended up leaving without the goods we wanted.

    Tim Thornley Tim Thornley 10:21 pm 13 Mar 19

    Increase the fines so the rangers are self funded.

Nathaniel Volckmann Nathaniel Volckmann 1:24 pm 13 Mar 19

Rest in peace :(

June Kirk June Kirk 1:28 pm 13 Mar 19

Heartbreaking for Nils, I remember him visiting with Mimosa when my late husband was at Clare Holland. Unleashed dogs even in areas that allow them, should be better monitored by those selfish, irresponsible owners, it's a disgrace!

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