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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6 Responses to Unleashed dog savages therapy alpaca while owner films attack
Toby Toby 11:34 am 15 Mar 19

Nils,
I am so sorry. I have met your lovely Alpaca on numerous occasions. The owner of the dog must be found it is terrible that he allowed his dog to mutilate your beautiful animal and filmed it.
It is only a matter of time before it mutilated or kills a child
Get moving Canberra Connect and find this idiot

JimCharles JimCharles 8:30 pm 13 Mar 19

One thing I’m beginning to hate about Canberra is the archaic attitude to dangerous dogs and irresponsible owners. In the UK they have a “fit and proper” owner test for dangerous dogs, because as we all know its often the combination of owner and breed which is the problem, rather than just the dog itself.

HiddenDragon 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.

jgsma 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.

Arthur Arthur 1:46 pm 13 Mar 19

My wife and I met Nils and his alpacas on the Giralang pathway a few months ago. The bloke is a champion. He deserves our support.

This incident is an indictment on the terrible service we get from the ACTPolice, DAS Rangers and the absurdly inactive ACT government. They give us all the reasons why nothing can be done and not one for what they can and will do.

We are regularly confronted by vicious dogs and their totally irresponsible owners and we know we aren’t alone.

I feel sorry for the alpaca, it’s a real loss to the community.

All we need now is someone with a little kid mauled to death. But my bet is Barr and Suzanne Orr, the local member, won’t do a tap. They don’t know how to serve the electorate. All they want is to cadge our votes.

Carry a stick or piece of rebar folks, we are on our own because nobody else has any willpower or authority to protect our safety when we exercise our right to peacefully utilise the parks we pay for.

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.

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