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Larry Neild in pit-bull attack

Here he tells of ordeal in Sudley grounds

Published on August 31st 2010.

Larry Neild in pit-bull attack

DESPITE being bitten, at the age of seven, by a German shepherd, I’ve been a life-long dog lover.

The woman owner, looking frightened and distressed, said she’d call an ambulance...Instead she jumped into her car, reversed and drove off

So it was somewhat ironic when, last week, I was viciously attacked, unprovoked, by a pit bull, scarred for life and enjoying the hospitality of the incredibly efficient Royal Liverpool University Hospital.

I have been reading various Facebook accounts of my eyeball-to-eyeball with a pit bull. So I thought I’d set the record straight by writing about what actually happened.

Monday evening, perfect blue skies and my delightful whippet and I embarked on what was supposed to be a pleasant walk in the grounds of Mossley Hill’s Sudley House.

A pit-bull, sporting the traditional chest plate (makes them look like gladiators, don’t you think) came around the corner. It was on a leash, so no problem. The woman at the other end, aged in her forties or fifties, pointed out her dog “wasn't very playful” and that it was on a leash. So Ferdie and I walked on, and, as I did so, the dog lurched forward and grabbed my left arm in its large jaws.

The dog was not planning to let go. A calm came over me and reasoned if I did not escape its clutches me, or at least my arm, were in grave danger.

I decided the only way forward, and away from its vice-like grip, was to take a deep breath and yank my arm away. As I did this, I could feel and hear my flesh tear.

I fell backwards and looked down at the damage: a huge wound pouring with blood.

The woman owner, looking frightened and distressed, said she’d call an ambulance. She ran to her car and placed my attacker in the vehicle. I thought she would then come back to help me. By this stage I was in terrible pain and in deep shock. Instead she jumped into her car, reversed and drove off. I tried to run towards it to capture its number but, as the blood was now gushing, I thought I’d better concentrate on myself.

George, a security guy at Sudley House, witnessed the attack on CCTV and came running to help. Thank God for George. At this stage I had collapsed into a useless heap, but he held on, keeping my injuries under control.

An ambulance trip to the Royal was accompanied by police questions and within minutes I was being treated.

Next day my arm was worse, with spreading infection, poison and bruising, so it was back to the Royal. They decided I should go in for 24-48 hours for intensive, intravenous antibiotics.

The stay in the observation ward was a memorable experience. We’re so lucky to have such a wonderful hospital in our city.

One fellow patient, defending dogs, told everyone how her own Staffy was so wonderful, it allowed her four-year-old to ride around the house on its back, horse-style.

“It’s the owners not the dogs,” she bellowed. I kept my head low but interjected: |”Yeh but the owner didn’t bite me - her dog did.”

I’m now on the mend, still in pain after eight days, having occasional flashbacks and thinking how much worse it might have been.

Should the owner be clamped in irons? Should the dog be destroyed? That wouldn’t help me, as such.

I like to seek a positive from every negative in life. I’d be happier if the city council tried a pilot scheme in one Liverpool park, banning un-muzzled pit-bulls and pit-bull types, using no more than existing parks and gardens bye-laws.

My guess is that such a scheme would be so popular it would spread around the city, the county, the country.

Politicians and the police don’t have the energy or will to tackle this, so let us ordinary folk sort it.

Place warning signs at park entrances stating, boldly, that pit bulls and their types are denied entry without muzzles.

It would work. It would give people the opportunity to challenge and demand intervention and action. I reckon it could even be a money spinner for the council with on-the-spot fines.

The woman who abandoned me in such a state should be ashamed of herself, as well she may well be. Her dog needs muzzling in public.

The Kennel Club is supporting a campaign for change under the umbrella slogan: “The deed not the breed”.

We know certain dogs, usually of the pit pull variety, lock their jaws onto their prey. I wouldn’t allow such animals to roam Knowsley Safari Park, let alone the parks of Merseyside.

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