Dog attack victims cry out

Two men, both of whom were recently attacked by dogs, say something needs to be done about the animals that are posing a hazard to early morning walkers and runners.

On Saturday around 6:40 a.m., Anthony Reid was bitten in four places by a pit bull while jogging along Waterford Bottom, St Michael. He is calling for a ban on “killer dogs”, a category into which he puts pit bulls, Akita, Rottweilers and those big dogs, which he says “are bred for that purpose”.

Terry Jones broke his right wrist trying to evade a German Shepherd which attacked him in Prior Park, St James, last week Tuesday. He is scheduled to undergo surgery, facing a bill of $16 000.

“As much as people say it is how they are socialised, if you check the stories, there are some of these dogs that would have been playful, and at some point just tripped and killed because that is their nature. . . At some point their nature takes control,” Reid told the DAILY NATION in a telephone interview yesterday.

“I didn’t panic, but I was terrified. I just dread if it was one of my children or just somebody who was not as big as I am,” said the six-footer who weighs 237 pounds. The former reserve soldier believes that training might have saved his life. He does not know how much longer he could have wrestled with the dog which he said bit one thigh, went at his neck, then bit the second thigh, clearly with the intention to disable him.

What was equally shocking was the reaction of the owner.

“ . . .  After what seemed like an eternity that I was on the ground struggling for my life the owner came, grabbed the back of the collar and fight to pull the dog off me and away,” he wrote in a post on Facebook.

“As I lay there trying to catch myself, he just walked off with the dog and went along, much to the shock of the few drivers who had stopped, but really could do nothing to help me without putting themselves at risk.”

He was taken to the District “A” Police Station, but does not know the owner.

The 56-year-old senior teacher said smaller dogs could attack, but people were more likely to survive. He queried if it would take something happening to a visitor before Government puts measures in place. A friend, who is an attorney in Trinidad and Tobago, told him they solved the problem with legislation.

In 2006, a pit bull attacked one-year-old Cheryann Duke and her 12-year-old cousin Shanna Chandler. Later that year, a pit bull attacked four children near Golden Square. In 2017, Verona Gibson, 74, was killed by a pack of dogs at Monroe Road, Haggatt Hall, St Michael; and the next year, 81-year-old Enid Small survived a mauling by a bull mastiff and ridgeback at Brighton, St Michael. In 2022, Elton Small was mauled at Maynards, St Peter. Of those cases, one owner received a suspended sentence and another was fined $400.

 Jones, 51, said many morning walkers were leaving home with sticks to protect themselves, something Reid had also observed.

“Sometimes I walk with a stick, it depends on where I am going, but that area [Prior Park], I have never seen a dog before,” the owner of a Sheba and a Labrador Terrier said, adding there was not much with which to defend oneself. Pepper spray is illegal and when he queried carrying a baton, he was told he needed a security guard licence.

“It is definitely a problem. People are out there trying to get exercise. Then you have to look at the costs … I am without the use of my right hand. I am left handed, but it is hard trying to do everything with one hand. I am off the job for the next six weeks. I am an IT person by profession and I need my hands,” Jones said.

He called for more dogs to be trained and socialised so they could be secured. He said owners were also liable for what happened to people.

“If the dog is not socialised, that makes it a bit more difficult.  I myself am a dog lover. I have had a few breeds, but in that scenario I wasn’t given any chance at all to see what I was going to do. The dog just charged at me …I couldn’t even run … I know we’ve had maulings, we’ve had people being bitten, a death and owners need to understand where their responsibility lies in that regard,” Jones said.

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