Yesterday started really badly. I was late getting up, and while I was getting ready to go to the post office with the adoption forms I heard barking and shouting in the street outside, and then, as I was heading to the window to check what was going on, I heard a man shouting for help. Simon got out ahead of me, with me about a minute behind him. A bull terrier had got hold of a small dog being walked by its owner and was savaging it. I ran back in and called the police who arrived while I was still talking to the dispatcher on the ‘phone (interestingly on the other occasions we have had to call 999 they rarely come out – we have had a lot of youth crime round here). A passer-by who had stopped bundled the injured dog and its owner in her car and rushed them to the nearest vet. We don’t know anything more about how the dog got on, it was more dead than alive when I rang the police and the attack wasn’t even over then. The bull terrier’s owner wasn’t even with it. The man I’d thought was the owner turned out to be a passer-by who was a dog handler by trade and had stopped to help (I thought he didn’t quite seem the type to own this sort of dog – also explained why he couldn’t control it. . .). The police contacted the dog’s owner from the info on its collar tag. Owner said dog had escaped while they were arguing with the neighbour (for which read “let dog loose to frighten neighbour”), the address was some two minutes walk away, and the owners were at home. After a good half hour a very unconcerned owner finally drove up in a gold BMW to retreive the dog.
All this left me shaking badly, and brought back all-too-vivid memories of our dog (a spaniel) being mauled by another bull terrier while I was walking him down the street last summer. He was ripped open from shoulder to groin with a wound so deep I could fit the entire length of my fingers in. The emergency vet did a great job on him, and although he limps and is quite nervous and submissive around other dogs, he has recovered very well and has not become aggressive. At the time we were told that if you kick the attacking dog up the backside it will let go. Simon says he kept trying that yesterday while I was ringing the police and it had no effect on the dog. One of the policemen who came out yesterday gave us this advice: (please note this is strictly for serious emergency cases only)
- grab its front legs and pull them out and behind the dogs back – this will crack its rib cage and the bones will puncture the heart and lungs killing the dog. Obviously this takes some strength.
- poke its eyes out
Obviously any attempt at intervention carries huge risks of redirecting the attack onto yourself.
There are a lot of bull terriers round here – they are a fashion statement, and it is rumoured that some are trained and used in dog fighting and baiting. When all this happened yesterday I still had to walk our dog. I couldn’t face taking him down the street, so in the end I bundled him in the car and drove him to a (much larger) common in a more middle class area that has fewer anti-social dogs, repeatedly muttering 2 Tim. 1.7 under my breath.