Family of man killed say he was attacked by friend’s dogs

Source: 1News

The family of a man killed in Northland on Thursday say he was attacked by his friend’s dogs.

A pack of six dogs were involved in the attack on Neville Thomson, with the 69-year-old man later found dead at his home in the remote community of Panguru in the Hokianga.

Two dogs remain on the loose after police shot dead one of them and captured two others on Thursday. One reportedly came back on Friday morning.

Neville’s son Te Ahu Thomson told 1News a friend had been staying with his father and claims the friend had about 19 dogs, some of which were aggressive.

Te Ahu said his father had owned dogs all of his life and his two current dogs were kept in the house to keep them away from his friend’s dogs.

Thomson’s son said his father’s death is a “tragedy” and he wants people to know he wasn’t attacked by his own dogs.

The 69-year-old’s daughter, Nataria Moore, said the friend’s dogs had shown "terrible behaviour already".

Neville Thomson.

"He was actually trying to get him out [the friend] because he didn’t want those dogs around him.

"And he tried to protect his two dogs during all this by keeping them locked inside. They weren’t involved at all."

Moore said her father had a "big heart" and had helped out a friend who needed somewhere to live.

"Unfortunately he took advantage of [his] heart and brought his – I’m not sure the number – but many dogs with him."

She said the nature of her father’s death had rocked her family and the community.

"We’re surviving, just. It’s a shock. When I found out, I felt like the air had been taken from the room," she said.

"This has shocked our community, it shocked our family."

Thomson’s stepdaughter Stella Matthews described the dogs as being "abandoned" by the friend on the property.

"They weren’t his [Thomson’s] dogs. I don’t know how you expect a 69-year-old man who was barely in good health himself to willingly look after 25 dogs."

Matthews said Thomson "was always so kind to everyone" and had "pampered" his dogs.

She said the friend had been housesitting for her father and had brought his dogs. Her father had been "down the line" helping her brother, she said. While he was away, around 14 puppies had been born.

Te Ahu described his father as "an awesome member of the community" and said "everyone loved him".

The Far North District Council’s district services general manager Dr Dean Myburgh said around 25 dogs had been taken from the property to its Kaitāia shelter after being "rounded up".

He said they were unregistered and some were puppies. The primary breeds of the dogs were neo mastiff and bull dog cross.

Myburgh described the dogs as being in "very good condition".

"It's unknown why there were that many dogs on site. It's just something that the police will have to get to the bottom of, and we will be assisting them where we can."

A history check on the property found there were no active registered dogs.

Neville's whānau have set up a Givealittle page seeking support for funeral costs.