A VICIOUS dog attack on a Bangor housing estate has left the owners of a Jack Russell fearful for the safety of children and other pets.
Raymond and Valerie Burke believe their four year-old Parson Jack Russell is ‘lucky to be alive’ after he was brutally attacked by two large unleashed dogs in the Kilcooley Estate in Bangor on Friday evening.
Mr Burke was bitten by the dogs during the attack and the Bangor couple now fear for the safety of other dog walkers, and in particular children, if the dogs are able to continue to roam the streets.
Mr Burke had been walking his dog, Harvey, in the area that evening as he usually does, adding that the pet loved stretching his legs.
The 70 year-old had been walking his dog towards the bus terminals in the estate along a raised footpath at Ballyquinton, when Harvey stopped to sniff a fence.
“The two dogs just appeared from nowhere and went for him,” Mr Burke said, adding that they were large ‘brindle coloured, Mastiff type dogs’.
The unleashed dogs, who were seemingly out without an owner, attacked Harvey, causing him and Raymond to both fall down the hill and onto the layby.
“At this stage I had a hold of Harvey,” said Mr Burke.
“One of the dogs had Harvey by the throat and was shaking him – It was as if they were going to tear him apart.”
Attempting to protect his beloved pet, Mr Burke lay on top of Harvey but with one dog grabbing the Jack Russell by the throat and the other at the back of his legs, he felt at a loss.
“I was trying to stop him from getting attacked and trying to get the dogs off him but there was no chance of that happening, they weren’t letting go,” Mr Burke continued.
“I turned round to one of the dogs and tried to punch it to try and get it away but it was a waste of time and I couldn’t get near the other one that had him by the neck.”
Eventually two witnesses of the incident got involved to try and help Mr Burke and Harvey get clear of the animals.
“What happened after that I don’t know. I don’t know if the dogs let go or somebody pulled them off or what but I was able to stand up with Harvey in my arms,” said Mr Burke.
He didn’t see the dogs afterwards as he made his way to safety with Harvey.
One of the witnesses, a woman, helped Mr Burke return to his father-in-law’s home in the area, where his wife had been clearing following his passing.
Valerie Burke opened the door to find her husband covered in blood and her family dog lifeless.
Mr Burke, who suffered a number of puncture wounds and swelling to his hands from the attack, said he continued to feel around Harvey for a heartbeat but feared for the worst.
His wife said: “Blood was running out of Raymond and Harvey – his jeans were covered and we didn’t know where the blood was coming from – him or Harvey.
“Harvey was covered in red. All we could see was blood.”
With Mr Burke suffering from shock, Valerie said her son collected her and Harvey to take them to the on call vet, adding that her usually bouncy dog never moved the entire journey and she worried they would be returning home without him.
Thankfully the vet was able to help, stitching up two large wounds to Harvey’s neck and one to the back of his leg, while treating multiple puncture wounds.
The family have so far been hit with bills costing over £1,660 – with more to come.
While their dog is lucky to be alive, Mr Burke said they were fearful that it could have had a worse outcome if a child had been involved.
“It probably is fortunate that it happened to me but if it had been a child walking a dog and the other dogs attacked it, the dog would be dead and the child could be dead as well,” he said.
“Those two dogs need to get disposed of as they’re a risk to someone else.”
Mr and Mrs Burke said the owner was at fault for not ensuring the dogs were leashed. “You can’t blame the dogs, it’s the owner and the way they have been brought up,” Mrs Burke stated.
A report has been made to the dog warden about the attack, however the couple hope to reach the female witness who helped as they are aware they have a photograph of one of the dogs which may help their case.
The couple also paid tribute to the two witnesses who helped rescue their beloved pet with heartfelt thanks.