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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108 Responses to Unleashed dog savages therapy alpaca while owner films attack
Andrew B. Carfrae Andrew B. Carfrae 5:10 pm 13 Mar 19


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.

Felicia Cooper Felicia Cooper 5:32 pm 13 Mar 19

Alex Miller so sad!!

Oreste Biziak Oreste Biziak 5:49 pm 13 Mar 19

What a low life.

Shae Jade Shae Jade 5:57 pm 13 Mar 19

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

Susan Elizabeth Susan Elizabeth 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 😭

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.

Clare Rowley Clare Rowley 6:47 pm 13 Mar 19

Dave Miles horrible ☹️

Nicole Fitzgerald Nicole Fitzgerald 6:52 pm 13 Mar 19

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

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.

Amanda Panayotou Amanda Panayotou 6:58 pm 13 Mar 19

We met Hercules at the hospice when my mum was there last year. It made her day. Nils does an amazing job putting smiles on the faces of dying loved ones. I am so sorry for the loss of Mimosa. May the person that was responsible for this tragic death burn in hell.

    Melinda Hill Melinda Hill 7:52 pm 13 Mar 19

    Amanda Panayotou we also met them at hospice. So sad.

Donna Anne Donna Anne 7:16 pm 13 Mar 19

I feel so much anger at reading this. I met Nils and his gorgeous, gentle alpaca friends almost 3 yrs ago and the passion he has for helping those in need was very obvious. These animals provide a service to those who are in need of comfort and companionship and Nils takes great care to ensure that the alpacas are well looked after and loved. We need more services like this and we definitely need more people like Nils in our Community! What we clearly need less of is irresponsible, heartless animal owners who have no sense of what 'Community' even means.

Julia O'Boyle Julia O'Boyle 7:43 pm 13 Mar 19

Oh that is sad and tragic. Hercules and Nils visited my mother in the hospice last year and Hercules was beautiful and so gentle, and Nils so kind; I am so sorry Mimosa was attacked so badly she had to be euthanized. This is a heart-breaking story.

Tanya Clancy Tanya Clancy 8:05 pm 13 Mar 19

If the owner of the dog watched filmed it he most likely has the personality type that will need to publish it so people can see "his dog" attacking this poor defenceless animal. He will get cudos from this and I am hoping he does put the film or video on the net as this may help catch the moron (if he hasnt already been). DAS should throw the full weight of the law behind this. Maximum penalty (gaol time). I feel sorry for the little puppy that was unfortunate enough to have drawn the short straw when it went to live with this vile indiviudal. O

Nat Prince Nat Prince 8:11 pm 13 Mar 19

That broke my heart. 💔

Hil JB Hil JB 8:15 pm 13 Mar 19

Name and shame

Elisabeth Wise Elisabeth Wise 8:35 pm 13 Mar 19

Sickening! You, the dog's owner, are a pathetic excuse for a human being. Karma does happen!

Alice Leda Petaros Alice Leda Petaros 8:58 pm 13 Mar 19

Too many stories of dog attacks in Canberra.

Carrie Wright Carrie Wright 9:20 pm 13 Mar 19

So sorry that Nils has had to experience this tragedy

Just awful

Tammie A H Hensley Tammie A H Hensley 9:54 pm 13 Mar 19

This just breaks my heart, Nils is such a gentle soul with so much love. Hercules has taught my daughter so much.

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