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Unleashed dog savages therapy alpaca while owner films attack

Genevieve Jacobs 14 March 2019 127

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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127 Responses to Unleashed dog savages therapy alpaca while owner films attack
Peter Evans Peter Evans 6:57 pm 13 Mar 19

It's time the owners of animals were charged as if they had committed the act. In this case charged with animal cruelty. A criminal record rather than a fine might change behaviour.

Nicole Fitzgerald Nicole Fitzgerald 6:52 pm 13 Mar 19

I hope the police charge the owner and the dog should be euthanised

Clare Rowley Clare Rowley 6:47 pm 13 Mar 19

Dave Miles horrible ☹️

Joel Reid Joel Reid 6:32 pm 13 Mar 19

What a piece of work... how you just stand there and film it is mind boggling! I really hope he gets his comeuppance.

Susan O'Meara Susan O'Meara 6:08 pm 13 Mar 19

OMG!! Olivia how bad is that! 😡😭

    Olivia Pittaway Olivia Pittaway 6:09 pm 13 Mar 19

    Susan O'Meara he would be banned from owning pets 😭

Shae Jade Shae Jade 5:57 pm 13 Mar 19

Holly - this is so awful! Do you remember meeting Hercules last year?

Oreste Biziak Oreste Biziak 5:49 pm 13 Mar 19

What a low life.

Felicia Cooper Felicia Cooper 5:32 pm 13 Mar 19

Alex Miller so sad!!

HiddenDragon 5:31 pm 13 Mar 19

I’ve met a couple of Nils’ alpacas – they are beautiful, shy, gentle creatures, with an almost other-worldly quality which, I imagine, would be truly comforting to those suffering serious illness.

It’s not as if we haven’t had enough practical warnings about the circumstances which enabled this tragedy. Sadly though, on this issue, we have a Government which is gutless, craven and obdurate, and mysteriously lacking in the “make no apologies” forthrightness which it can muster up (when it suits) on other challenging issues.

Shannon Keith Shannon Keith 5:30 pm 13 Mar 19

I despair that someone could act so unconscionably to anyone, let alone to a man and animals who have given nothing but kindness and comfort to people in need of it. I hope the person involved is caught and punished.

jgsma 5:18 pm 13 Mar 19

So sad to read of this utterly disgusting attack on such lovely creatures which have brought joy to so many. Someone must know who this man is. In general I’m tired of dogs off-leads, tired of them running up to me with the owner saying “he won’t hurt you; he only wants to be friendly”. But this is appalling.

Andrew B. Carfrae Andrew B. Carfrae 5:10 pm 13 Mar 19


Rebecca Parker Rebecca Parker 4:51 pm 13 Mar 19

Just awful....

    Aidan Chaston Aidan Chaston 9:01 pm 13 Mar 19

    Rebecca Parker unfortunately I saw the aftermath. So sad

Jennifer Gumm Jennifer Gumm 4:34 pm 13 Mar 19

Hope they find the **sehole! What a low act! 😡😡 So sorry 😪😭

Ian McLeod Ian McLeod 4:32 pm 13 Mar 19

I met this guy years ago and never forgot. What an absolute legend of the community. Judy devastating.

I truly hope they find this low life scum and actually seriously prosecute him and have that dog put down as a menace to the community.

Lyn Bailey Lyn Bailey 4:30 pm 13 Mar 19

That is utterly disgusting. How can anyone let their dog attack another animal & then film it is beyond me. I hope the police find the dog & it's owner before you or a member of the public do. Sounds like the owner of the dog wants a savage dog. Next time could be a child.

RIP beautiful Mimosa 😪😪

Beata Georgina Wilder Beata Georgina Wilder 4:29 pm 13 Mar 19

RIP Mimosa xx

Sarah Kentwell Sarah Kentwell 4:23 pm 13 Mar 19

I truly hope the staffy isn’t put down but the owner should be punished

    Ian McLeod Ian McLeod 4:33 pm 13 Mar 19

    I truly hope the dog is put down and the owner locked up.

    They are both a danger to society.

    Perry Matthew Perry Matthew 6:39 pm 13 Mar 19

    It's brutal but the dog might commit further maulings, you're right.

    Sarah Kentwell Sarah Kentwell 7:09 pm 13 Mar 19

    It’s tragic what happened to Mimosa, please don’t get me wrong. It’s terrible. But I believe the dog deserves a second chance, with a different human.

    Ian McLeod Ian McLeod 7:43 pm 13 Mar 19

    Sarah Kentwell no it doesn't. Once these attack dogs get a taste for blood it's all over. A child will be next. They are bred for it and the owner is as irresponsible as a drunk driver and should be prosecuted as such.

    Sarah Kentwell Sarah Kentwell 2:14 pm 14 Mar 19

    Ian McLeod I assume by "attack dogs" you mean staffies and pit bulls, yeah? I had two staffies and they were the most gentle creatures. I don't believe these breeds are inherently bad. I agree the owner is as irresponsible as a drunk driver. The fact that he didn't try to intervene makes me sick and I agree he needs to be punished, harshly. But I also don't want to get into an argument as I don't even know you so can we just leave it and agree to disagree?

Shirley Hadfield Shirley Hadfield 4:08 pm 13 Mar 19

This man will be identified. Hopefully police can use the video this disgusting person filmed of the attack to charge him with animal cruelty. This lowlife is unfit to have any animal in his care.

Kwee-Lian Lim Kwee-Lian Lim 4:03 pm 13 Mar 19


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