UNITED KINGDOM -- A Brixham couple have spoken out about the terrifying attack on their beloved Westie Thomas to warn other dog lovers.
Veronica Bridge and Richard Stent got in touch after reading about the series of attacks in South Devon which have left dogs seriously injured.
Thomas, 4, nearly died after being was attacked by another dog which wasn’t on a lead. His neck ripped so bad it was down to bone and he was badly bitten on his back and stomach.
It took six people to try to part the dogs and the other dog only let go when someone wrapped a top around it’s neck to stop it breathing and release its jaws clamped around Thomas’ neck.
Veronica and Richard, who live in Marine Drive, Brixham, said they had been totally traumatised by the attack and were only ready to talk about it now.
Richard said he had been walking Thomas on a lead when he was attacked by another dog, not on a lead and with no collar.
The dog ran up and bit Thomas on the back and neck and started to drag him across the grass.
Richard said: “He dragged me together with Thomas. I knew if I had let him go, that dog would have taken Thomas off and killed him.”
About six neighbours came and were trying get the dog off. Richard said they weren’t able to get the dog off for some 20 minutes. “A man took his jumper off and wrapped it around the other dog’s neck to stop him breathing because it was the only way to get him to unlock his jaw.”
Richard said Thomas’ neck was ripped open across the back. “You could see the neck bones and puncture marks on his back and tummy,” he said.
He was rushed off to the local vets and then put on a drip and taken to a specialist vet in Wellington where he was kept in for six days.
Veronica said: “We want people to be more aware of big dogs which aren’t on leads. Most dogs are fine but you need to be prepared and on the alert.
“The attack on Thomas was just so traumatic. I literally had to lift my dog off the other dog’s teeth. It cost £5,500, luckily we were insured. But it’s not about the money. Thomas is fine now, but other people need to know this could happen.”
There has been a spate of serious dog attacks in recent weeks.
A Staffordshire Bull Terrier launched an unprovoked attack on a Shih Tzu in the park off Torquay’s Cricketfield Road. The little dog needed extensive treatment at the vet’s while the 73-year-old owner, who instinctively ‘threw herself on top of her dog’ to try to save him, was also bitten and needed an overnight stay in Torbay Hospital.
A dog, believed to be a pit bull, attacked another dog in Newton Abbot town centre. The injured dog’s owner was taken to hospital after attempting to free her pet.
And a Staffie cross breed attacked a West Highland White Terrier in Torquay’s busy Fleet Street. The Westie suffered four puncture wounds and was rushed to the vet, and the woman who had been walking the Westie for her owner was bitten as she tried to keep the dog away.
There is no rule that states that a dog should be put to sleep if it bites a person or another animal. Legally, if certain conditions are fulfilled, the person in charge of the dog may be brought before a court and may be ordered to have the dog put to sleep.
A spokesman for animal welfare charity the RSPCA said: “The RSCPA expects owners to ensure that their dogs, and their own behaviour in respect of their dog, does not unreasonably compromise the health, safety or well-being of other persons or animals and it is a legal requirement to keep a dog under control.
“But owners should be aware that in general, dogs which use aggression are generally doing so because they feel threatened and so are experiencing a negative emotional state or very simply are unhappy in particular situations.
“If you have a dog that displays aggressive behaviour towards dogs, people or other animals then it is important to seek expert advice and it may also be necessary to muzzle your dog.
"It is important to get your pet checked by a vet first to rule out any form of illness or injury that could be causing the issue. Your vet can then refer you to a behaviour expert. They need to be someone who has the appropriate skills, up to date knowledge, experience and qualifications as well as someone who works to protect dog welfare. You can find a behaviourist on the RSPCA’s website.”
This is assuming that people with vicious dogs even care...
(Devon Live - August 30, 2017)