Dog owners are being given a stern warning to keep dogs on a leash around marine life after a seal was attacked and killed on Pukehina Beach.
Two unidentified dogs were seen attacking and killing what is believed to be a fur seal at the water’s edge of the Bay of Plenty beach on Sunday.
Two wandering dogs were seen attacking a seal on Pukehina Beach on Sunday morning.
“Two men with brooms couldn’t get the dogs off the seal that was more dead than alive when they noticed the blood bath,” a beachgoer, who did not wish to be named told SunLive.
Department of Conservation biodiversity ranger, Dan Rapson, confirmed to SunLive that DOC were notified of the seal attack.
“The caller had no further information about the attack and we didn’t get the call until Monday.
“By that stage it was too late to follow up on the attack because we simply didn’t have enough information about what had happened.”
Dan says attacks on marine mammals, such as seals, are a serious matter.
“It’s an offence under the Marine Mammals Protection Act to disturb, harass, harm, injure or kill a seal.”
“A dog owner whose dog attacks a seal faces prosecution. That’s because the owner has a duty to keep their dog under control and to ensure it does not carry out such an attack.”
Dan warns dog owners ensure their animals are on a leash if they know a seal is on a beach. This ensures the safety of the dog, and the seal.
“Dogs are obviously curious and they’re attracted to things like seals and sometimes a big healthy seal can turn around and attack a dog.
“So it goes both ways. Dog owners need to protect their dogs as well as keeping them from harming seals.”
Anyone prosecuted for allowing their dog to attack a seal faces a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment or a fine up to a maximum of $250,000.