By Anita Matheson
Friday, March 30, 2012
LETTERS From Anita Matheson, Alverstone:Following the recent reports of dogs attacking people and other dogs, I feel I need to make known an incident that happened to me last week.While riding my horse, Flo, on Yaverland Beach last Wednesday afternoon, she was attacked by a Staffordshire bull terrier. A beautiful afternoon was spoilt for us when at about 4.30pm, the light-coloured dog ran over and started jumping around the horse’s front legs, showing absolutely no fear of her. The dog quickly became more and more excited and vicious, jumping up and biting at the horse, I realise now that it was going for her throat. The young man with the dog, who was initially not in sight, ran over and was trying to get control of the dog, I was trying to fend it off with my whip and it was trying to savage my horse. As Flo leapt about trying to avoid the dog’s teeth I fell off and luckily at that point the man managed to grab the dog but he was struggling to control it, wrestling with it on the sand. He was shouting for me to get away and for the dog to calm down, so after a brief check for serious injury we headed for home without being able to get any details from the dog owner. After getting off of the beach I was able to check Flo more thoroughly and found she had some deep wounds to the top of one foreleg as well as some shallower ones on her neck. The deeper ones have needed stitching and antibiotics, leading to a substantial vet’s bill.As well as the obvious distress and injury to my horse, this incident has caused me to feel that it is no longer safe to ride on our beautiful beaches. I have ridden on Sandown and Yaverland beach all my life and, in recent years, have had more and more problems with out-of-control dogs running at and around my horse. She was really quite tolerant of this behaviour but I suspect this will no longer be the case. I hope the owner of this dog has learnt an important lesson and will keep it on a lead and muzzled in public from now on as it obviously has all the fighting/attacking instincts typical of its breed.
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