St Albans couple living in fear after pet is savaged by neighbour’s dog

PUBLISHED: 07:00 20 June 2010

Susan Hanlon with dog Micky

Susan Hanlon with dog Micky

Archant

A COUPLE are frightened to walk their pet dog after it was viciously attacked by a neighbour’s German Shepherd, leaving them with a £2,500 vet’s bill.

Susan Hanlon, 53, of Barnfield Road, St Albans, said she and her husband were wary of the animal after hearing that it had a history of attacking of other dogs. And on May 7 her husband David spotted the dog sitting on the drive of its owners’ home as he walked their Saluki-cross greyhound Micky at around 7.30pm.

He turned around but the dog shot across the road, barking at them. Mr Hanlon pulled Micky behind him but the dog managed to knock him over and rip open his pet’s groin, stomach and leg area.

Mrs Hanlon said: “The dog’s owner came out and pulled his dog in, saying he did not know he was out but made no attempt to help my husband with our dog.

“Micky, who is 12-years-old and quite frail, was bleeding heavily but my husband could not pick him up because he suffers from arthritis. They made it home and I did my best to staunch the bleeding and carried Micky to the car.”

The Hanlons took Micky to the emergency vet’s where the surgeon fought to save their beloved pet, who is now making a slow recovery.

Mrs Hanlon reported the incident to the police who told her to inform St Albans district council’s dog warden ­– but one month on neither have given her a reponse about what, if any, action would be taken against the dog’s owners, despite numerous phone calls to both.

And following the attack, Mr and Mrs Hanlon were contacted by another local dog owner who claimed that their pet had been attacked by the same dog and that its owners had been warned to keep it under control by the dog warden on that previous occasion.

Mrs Hanlon said: “This whole thing has been so upsetting. It has made me feel quite ill and my husband and I are obviously fearing the worst when we begin to take Micky out for a walk again. Up to now he has been too badly injured to take out but he is starting to recover now and we don’t want him to suffer another attack or – even worse – for a child to be hurt.”

Since the Herts Advertiser intervened on the couple’s behalf last week it has since emerged that the police are unable to prosecute the owner under the Dangerous Dogs Act as a human had not been injured.

Mrs Hanlon was outraged to learn that police could not prosecute, raising serious concerns that a dog had to harm an adult or child before any action is taken.

A spokesperson for Herts Police said: “An officer attended the address to speak with the owner to determine the circumstances of the incident. Unfortunately, as the dog did not try to attack the owner in any way it is not deemed to pose a risk to humans so police can’t prosecute under the Dangerous Dogs Act. In essence this is a civil matter, however the incident was referred to the local dog warden who has made contact with the owner of the German Shepherd to discuss safety issues.”

A spokesperson for the district council said that the dog warden had advised the owner of the dog which attacked Micky to keep it under proper control, muzzled and on a lead at all times when out in public, as well as not leaving it unattended in the garden.

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