RSPCA issue warning after guide dog is savagedTWO Wirral families suffered nightmare experiences when their pets were savaged by bigger dogs this week.
The attacks - in Vale Park, New Brighton and Park Road East, Birkenhead - provoked a strong warning from the RSPCA.
Spokeswoman Leanne Plumtree said: "If a dog attacks another animal and the owner is aware of it having aggressive tendencies and a propensity to do so, they could be deemed guilty of an offence under the Animal Welfare Act.
"Under the Dangerous Dogs Act it is an offence to allow a dog to become 'dangerously out of control.'"
An elderly couple were left terrified and shaken after their pet dachshund was attacked by an unleashed Staffordshire bull terrier near Birkenhead Park.
Denise McLoughlin, 55, said: "My dog Billie was screaming; I was screaming. It was going for Billie's throat and dragging him around like a rag doll."
In the Vale Park attack Prince, a black labrador guide dog was set upon by a Weimeraner - a type of German retriever.
Wallaseyan Linda Bennet, who regularly walks Prince for his 72-year-old blind owner Leslie McWilliam said the dog was shaking for hours afterwards.
Denise had been shopping in the town centre with her blind boyfriend, 67-year old Gordon McWilliams when the bull terrier launched its attack in Park Road East.
Denise challenged a man in his 30's who appeared to be with the dog, but he denied ownership.
Said Denise: "He dragged the bull terrier off my dog and then this low-life casually walked off and the dog followed. He had no lead but he kept looking back as he walked away."
She added: "I want people to know how bad these dogs really area, It was really horrendous."
Passers-by rushed to help Denise and Gordon. One young couple drove them to a veterinary surgery in the town for Billie to be given attention. The dog required two needles and antibiotics to treat his injuries.
Denise disclosed: "He is normally a very lively dog, but since being bitten he is very subdued."
Gordon's dog Karl - a labrador - was not attacked but reacted by pulling away strongly on his lead.
"Poor Gordon was almost dragged into the busy road," said Denise.
She said the police had been contacted over the incident but they had said they could do nothing about it because she had not been bitten.
Prince had been let off its lead and was playing with other dogs in the park when it was attacked by the Weimeraner.
Prince's ear was torn during the attack and needed stitching with metal staples.
He was also prescribed antibiotics for the pain. It was the first time he had been attacked by a dog, and he is now nervous when going out.
Police were informed. The Weimeraner was on its lead at the time of the attack and owner has offered to pay the vet's bill.
A police spokesman said that because the Weimerarner was on a leash and an offer had been made to pay the vet's bill no further action would be taken.
Linda Bennett told the Globe: "Prince is a lovely guide dog who loves attention, and hates confrontations.
"The attack has damaged him psychologically.
"When he was attacked I was in total shock and couldn't believe it. I was about 20 feet away and I stood there, frozen to the spot."
Every year dogs attack 200,000 people in the UK. Dog bites are a major child-health problem, exceeding the total combined number of cases of measles, whooping cough and mumps each year.
Approximately 28,000 facial dog bites are reported across the country with 19,000 of them needing plastic surgery.
Said Leanne Plumtree: "All owners have a duty to keep their dogs under control and to train them in a way that discourages aggression towards people and other animals.
"The RSPCA encourages any dog owners who are worried about their pet's behaviour to consult the police or a vet.
"If a dog is dangerous the police should always be informed first." THE GLOBE