Unleashed dog savages therapy alpaca while owner films attack

Genevieve Jacobs 13 March 2019

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 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 Hercules on the bike path adjacent to Baldwin Drive in the Canberra suburb of 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 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 crying next to Mimosa 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 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 end the work.”

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.

Original Article published by Genevieve Jacobs on The RiotACT.

What's Your Opinion?

47 Responses to Unleashed dog savages therapy alpaca while owner films attack

Elisabeth Apps Elisabeth Apps 6:48 pm 14 Mar 19

Noooo. This happened to ome of ours and I still have nightmares.

Sue Wakefield Sue Wakefield 6:47 pm 14 Mar 19

That’s disgusting 😖

Clem Collier 6:35 pm 14 Mar 19

I owned an English Staffy who could`ve been a therapy dog,she was so smart,quiet,obedient & loving.
The dog owner,if found,should face the full force of the law & have the dog taken from him.
A fine is too lenient for this guy….definitely jail term with treatment for callousness & long term enforced community service……why would a sicko like that want to record the attack ?

Gee Perera Gee Perera 5:17 pm 14 Mar 19

I love dogs and most would never do something like this. Makes you wonder why it was so aggressive. I hope the moron who owned the dog and filmed the suffering of a gentle animal is caught and fined heavily or jailed for animal cruelty. Sorry for your loss Nils, my anger towards the dog's owner won't bring back your gentle friend. 😢

    Emil Ski Emil Ski 3:39 am 26 May 19

    Gee Perera here’s just a brief idea types of dog aggression

Met 2:22 pm 14 Mar 19

What kind of coward let’s their dog do that and films it. This dog owner is not human and a totally worthless waste of space.

Marie 1:55 pm 14 Mar 19

What a disgusting attack on 2 beautiful calm
Animals that were minding their own business the owner of the attacking dog
Must be found and prosecuted to the maximum penalty

Katherine Williams Katherine Williams 1:19 pm 14 Mar 19

The Dog owner is completely to blame as he allowed it to Happen, Firstly by not having the dog on a lead ,therefore .. "Under control"

Erika Cleaver Erika Cleaver 10:17 am 14 Mar 19

I am so sorry for your loss Nils. I love all dogs and their responsible dog owners. It is the irresponsible dog owners that I detest! They are so defensive if you suggest that they take control of their dog, which they are required to by law, at all times, secured behind fences on their property or in public places. I get very annoyed when stray dogs come onto our property and frighten the wildlife away. I hope this extremely heartless and irresponsible dog owner is caught and is taken to some institution and taught some responsibility and compassion, before being let back into society! I loved spotting your alpaca in the little car many years ago, I think it was you, and I appreciate all the valuable therapy that you and your alpacas give to those in need in Canberra. I hope it can continue and that you can walk your alpacas safely when you are presented with another alpaca by the supportive Canberra community rallying behind you. Maybe dog owners need to be licensed, and on L's and P's before they are given full custody of their dog ...

Greg Noel Greg Noel 9:06 am 14 Mar 19

The old guns don't kill people people kill people argument being trotted out to justify a violent act.... 😢

Ros Davis Ros Davis 12:08 am 14 Mar 19

Please contact me about a replacement alpaca Nils.

Sammy Pixel Sammy Pixel 11:27 pm 13 Mar 19

Emmet Cole Emmet Cole 9:29 pm 13 Mar 19

What a sick human. I feel so bad for the dog who has spent its life with somebody so horrible that they taught him to do something like that. And those poor alpacas :(

Karen Nemec Karen Nemec 9:17 pm 13 Mar 19

My heart goes out to you Nils, so tragic but good on you for continuing your wonderful therapy work.

Sue Middlebrook Sue Middlebrook 9:06 pm 13 Mar 19

That is so sad and sickening at the same time. There is no punishment harsh enough for the dog owner.

Lynn Jamieson Lynn Jamieson 8:31 pm 13 Mar 19

Owner should be jailed

Stephen Esdaile Stephen Esdaile 8:31 pm 13 Mar 19

I wish everyone would stop blaming the dog. The owner is 100% responsible. The dog is clearly doing as it has been taught.

I also hope this doesn't start an anti-Staffy movement. There are two types of Staffies: American (dangerous dogs) and British (lovely, gentle dogs).

    Matt Weaver Matt Weaver 10:14 pm 13 Mar 19

    Stephen Esdaile American staffies aren't inherently dangerous.Thats an ignorant comment seeing as your prepared to 100% blame the owner.How do you know what type of Stacie it was? No dog is untrainable or either capable of violence , breed regardless.

    Stephen Esdaile Stephen Esdaile 10:21 pm 13 Mar 19

    There are specific breeds banned under dangerous dog legislation because they are inherently more dangerous.

    I wasn't saying it was an American Staffy, but that I hope people don't get agro at Staffies for this incident. I stand by my comments about the owner.

    Wendy Hardman Wendy Hardman 11:10 pm 13 Mar 19

    American Staffies are not dangerous dogs, they are just as sweet as British Staffies - just a bit taller... ffs... you should see a British Staffie on a pig hunt - very handy - not sweet at all. This dog was doing what the owner taught it to do - it had no hope of being a sweetie towards those alpacas. Anyone who knows dogs knows that breed specific legislation is stupid - in Victoria, Maltese Terriers to more attacks than any other breed - they just don't do much physical damage... three of them psychologically scarred my sweet rotti/ridgey for life - he still never hurt one... the breed is never the problem, the humans are the problem. To suggest anything else is either ill-informed or willfully ignorant.

    Nanny Plum Nanny Plum 5:01 pm 14 Mar 19

    Stephen Esdaile Agree with

    Lachlan Gordon Lachlan Gordon 10:53 pm 14 Mar 19

    Stephen my family has an american staffie and it is the most placid dog i have met. I know alot of people who also have american staffies and they too are placid dogs. Ive met jack russels that are way more aggressive then american staffies. You say you dont want to start an anti-staffie movement but call american staffies dangerous, isn't that a start of an anti-staffie movement againts the american breed?

    Emil Ski Emil Ski 3:25 am 26 May 19

    The lot of you are idiots. American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terriers and American Bully are all branched breeds from the American Pit Bull Terrier. The pit bull is the baseline to what these breeds have now separated to be recognised and registered breeds of their own.

    Emil Ski Emil Ski 3:31 am 26 May 19

    Why “dangerous” staffy is because people think you need to teach a canine to bite... Dogs aren't humans! They cannot decipher right from wrong. They are a domesticated wild animal! Any dog, of any breed, of any upbringing CAN and WILL bite given the right circumstances. It isn't Rocket Science, but it is basic Science! Nurture versus Nature has an entire chapter dedicated to it in primary, middle, and high school Science books. Until that you can read the Amstaff breed standards and be more responsible by not being so ignorant to belive you have to teach a dog to be aggressive... until people stop this nonsense and start handling the dog appropriately setting them up for success they will continue to be called “dangerous” unfortunately

Mac Toots Mac Toots 8:15 pm 13 Mar 19

So sad and angry for you Nils. I hope there are serious consequences for this monstrous human and his dog.

Lynda Maree Vezgoff Lynda Maree Vezgoff 8:04 pm 13 Mar 19

O my God I hope he was caught and charged!!!!! Such a sad story

Gwennyth Connelly Gwennyth Connelly 7:55 pm 13 Mar 19

Charge the moron

Sam Ferrara Sam Ferrara 7:41 pm 13 Mar 19

I’m not a dog person; but I think it’s more exact to say I’m not a dog person person.

I’ve been attacked and my son has been attacked, on separate occasions.

I don’t trust dogs because I don’t trust humans. Its the owners teaching their dogs to attack. It’s as simple as that.

I’m sure there are nice dogs out there, but I’d rather they and their owners just stay well away from me and my children 🤷‍♀️