Victim spends 10 hours in ED after Masterton dog attack

5:16 pm on 26 July 2023
Dog bite victim Perry Cameron - single use only

Perry Cameron was bitten by a dog in a Masterton supermarket car park. Photo: LDR / Sue Teodoro

By Sue Teodoro, Local Democracy reporter

A Featherston man spent almost 10 hours in the ED after being attacked by a dog in a Masterton supermarket car park earlier this month.

Perry Cameron, who has lived in Featherston for 15 years and has longstanding ties to Wairarapa, said the surprise attack came during a routine trip to Masterton's Pak 'n Save on 8 July.

A Masterton District Council (MDC) spokesperson confirmed the incident and said its animal control team was investigating it.

Cameron has since needed ongoing treatment to his right hand, which remains bandaged. Initially, he had limited use of the hand but that has since improved. He was prescribed antibiotics and painkillers for more than two weeks after the attack.

He said the attack happened during a Saturday afternoon supermarket visit, at a time when the car park was full. He understood the dog's owner was also based in Featherston. He said he reported the issue to MDC but had not yet heard the outcome.

He was concerned the dog might attack others if the council did not take steps to mitigate any risk.

Perry said the Saturday visit to the supermarket had started off like any other.

"We decided to have an afternoon trip to Masterton and thought we would check in at Pak 'n Save on our way home," he said.

"The car park was very full, so we had to walk through rows of parked vehicles. As I was approaching the Pak 'n Save main door, there was a barking dog inside a parked car. The window happened to be about halfway down.

"It lunged out through the gap at me and bit my shirt."

Cameron said he was worried the dog might also attack his partner, who was just behind him.

"It then had another attempt at me as I was about to continue, and seized my right hand," he said.

"It only held on for a few seconds, but it was a very firm and aggressive grip."

Cameron managed to get away but had been badly bitten.

"I realised quite significant damage had been done."

About half a dozen shoppers had gathered when they heard the noise, with one helping provide first aid for the injury.

"The group was totally horrified."

Cameron said by then the dog's owner had arrived and was visibly upset, describing the dog as the family pet.

He spent the next 10 hours in Wairarapa Hospital ED, only arriving home at about 2am the next day.

No decision on dog's fate yet - council

An MDC spokesperson said on the day an animal and bylaw services after-hours officer responded to a report of an attack in the supermarket car park.

The spokesperson confirmed the dog's owner was not a resident of Masterton district.

"MDC Animal Services are currently investigating the incident and have been in contact with both parties. No decision has been made as to any outcome at this stage," the person said.

The spokesperson reminded people to keep their dogs under control in such situations.

They should not be able to get their heads out of windows, or in the case of open-backed vehicles, should not be able to reach over the edge of the vehicle. 

"Securing dogs in crates is a good way to reduce the risk of this type of incident," a spokesperson said.

Local Democracy Reporting is Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

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