THE owner of an alpaca that was "viciously attacked" by two dogs said it was “devastating”.
Kathy Williams, who lives in Newstead with her husband Terry, said two dogs got into their paddock last Friday and attacked one of their four alpacas while the couple were out.
“They did a real nasty job,” she said.
“There were bite marks all over her. It is really horrific .
“Luckily the neighbour heard a commotion and chased the dogs off or they would have killed the lot.
“I have never had anything that bad happen in my life, I am devastated.”
Castlemaine Veterinary Clinic owner Yvette Berkeley said it was a “pretty sustained vicious attack.”
“They tried to drag the alpaca down and tear it apart,” she said.
“It took four hours to clean and stitch up the wounds.
“They were not playing; they were trying to kill her.”
But Ms Berkeley said the attack was out of character for the dogs - a labrador cross and a kelpie cross.
“They are normally friendly but when hunting in a pack they become primal and instinctive," she said.
“There is no guarantee they wouldn't do it again.
“Owners always have to know where their dog is.”
The dogs' owner has given them up to be euthanised.
Mrs Williams said she was relieved.
“I wouldn’t feel comfortable leaving my animals otherwise," she said.
But Ms Berkeley said euthanasia was not the only solution.
“It is a horrific circumstance," she said.
“There could have been a way to separate the dogs or the owners could have made a case to keep the lab and rehome the kelpie, which would be more bearable.
“They are an older couple and the dogs are their family but they say the system is stacked against them.
“They have taken responsibility and are paying the vets bills but they are devastated."
Mount Alexander Shire Council acting sustainable development director Ben Grounds said the council was working with both parties to resolve the issue and prevent a similar incident occurring again.