A MAN was mauled to death by a pack of six dogs while on the phone to his partner who heard him “being ripped apart”.
Neville Thomson, 69, was attacked by dogs he was housing for a friend on his Panguru property in the Hokianga, New Zealand.
Neville’s step-daughter Stella Matthews said her mother had been on the phone to him when the dogs launched their fatal attack.
Stella said: “Apparently he had gone outside and put the phone down and my mum had heard scuffling and shouting and growling.
“She stayed on the phone for a good 25, 30 minutes”
And Neville’s daughter Nataria Moore added that her father’s death and the nature of it had “shocked” the family and close-knit community, reports New Zealand outlet Stuff.
“We’re surviving, just,” she said. “It’s a shock. When I found out, I felt like the air had been taken from the room.”
Nataria said her father had a “big heart” and had helped out a friend who needed somewhere to live.
She added: “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.”
Other members of the community also paid tribute to Neville, describing him as “kind and generous” and a “big support to people”.
Father Maliu ‘Otutaha, the reverend at St Peter’s Panguru, said: “He was very active in the community and a big support to people.
“It was very sad for the community to lose him, because he was very kind and generous.”
As of now, 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 according to reports by 1news.
Cops urged members of the public to avoid any stray dogs in the area and to call 111 immediately if they are seen.
Police added they were unable to provide a description of the animals involved in the tragic attack at this stage.
A post-mortem examination of Neville is due to be carried out on Saturday, but police will remain at the scene overnight according to Far North Area Investigations Manager Detective Senior Sergeant Mark Dalzell said.
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 and confirmed the primary breeds of the dogs were neo mastiff and bull dog cross.
Myburgh also 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.