It could be months before a Papamoa woman is back to full health after she was attacked by a dog while walking along the beach.
Anita Paynter was taking an early morning walk along Papamoa Beach by herself on Waitangi Day when the attack occurred, leaving her with a serious injury.
“She walked past some people playing with their dog on the beach and just said ‘good morning',” says husband Noel Paynter.
Then he says the dog, which was unrestrained, came at Anita from behind and ‘took a chunk out of her leg'.
“The people with dog did help her home, they were very good. I think they were quite shocked that it happened, but unfortunately the damage was done.”
After returning home, Anita was driven straight to the A&E by her husband, where he says she was admitted straight away.
“They tried to do a skin graft there, but it's failed,” says Noel. “It looks like it will be several months before she is back to 100 per cent again.”
Anita spent three days in hospital, and is still going back for check-ups and treatment. Noel says she now has a ‘vacuum pump bandage' to help the wound heal better.
“It's restricted what she can do now,” he says. “And the costs are into the thousands of dollars already just for her treatment.”
He says their concern is that with so many dogs running loose on the beach now, similar attacks may become more common if there aren't stricter rules.
“I was down the beach a week or two earlier, and there would have been around 50 people on the beach with at least seven dogs running loose at the time. It's asking for trouble.
“If it had been a child, it probably would have been a fatality, when you see the big chunk that was taken out of Anita's leg.”
As a result, Noel has made a submission as part of the council's public places bylaw review advocating for stricter rules regarding dogs on beaches.
A council spokesperson says the dog involved in the attack was a Staffordshire bull terrier cross.
“The owners surrendered the dog and it has been euthanised.”
She says on average, four dogs a year are euthanised as a result of prosecution by Tauranga City Council.