The Daily Telegraph

Dog walker killed as pets turn on her ‘in a frenzy’

Witness compares animals to wolves after they set upon woman exercising them in the North Downs

- By Patrick Sawer, Susie Coen and Ewan Somerville

A DOG walker was set upon and killed by the pets she was walking in a frenzied attack at a Surrey beauty spot.

The 28-year-old woman was with eight dogs when a number of them turned on her as she walked the animals along the North Downs.

As she tried to fight off the dogs she is understood to have screamed at two horsewomen who approached the scene to stay back.

Another woman who was passing was bitten in the confusion, but was later discharged from hospital.

A police source said: “The woman who died was walking eight dogs and was attacked by one or more of them.”

Police said no illegal dog breeds were involved in Thursday’s attack and the owner of all the animals in the dead woman’s care have been traced.

The Daily Telegraph understand­s that

‘You cannot be in control with that amount of dogs. It’s like having seven small wolves attacking you’

among the dogs were two dachshunds and a leonberger, a large breed originally used as guard dogs.

One of the horsewomen, Susan Dove, 60, was unseated as the attack took place. She said: “We could hear shouting and screaming. I thought ‘oh my God, this is awful’.”

A witness said: “There was no barking – just her screaming. She was being attacked, she was trying to sit up, but with the dogs around her and going for her arms she couldn’t do it. It was a frenzy.

“Most of them may have been still on their leads. They were tangled round her, meaning she couldn’t stand. It was impossible for them to get away, so in their frenzy they just went for what was in front of them.”

The number of injuries from dog bites has been increasing in recent years. Between 1998 and 2018, hospital admissions for dog-related injuries doubled in England, with about 8,000 people admitted each year.

It has been suggested that impulse buying of dogs during the pandemic may have fuelled the problem. A study at Alder Hey hospital in Liverpool found that the number of children admitted for dog bite injuries grew by more than 70 per cent in the first lockdown.

Animal experts have warned that the boom of pandemic puppy buying has led to a generation of pets poorly socialised and trained, less accustomed to being around other dogs.

Dr Katie Friel-russell, veterinary behaviouri­st, said: “We had a huge surge in really poor breeding, so we had this mass of really poor genetic dogs, anxious parents and puppies raised in really inappropri­ate settings before they were rehomed.

“The dogs had a really poor start in life and people were stuck in their homes and couldn’t seek help as classes were shut and they weren’t socialisin­g.”

She said that very few people would be able to manage walking four dogs safely and that the response of one dog to a horse or another animal could trigger a reaction in the rest.

In Surrey yesterday, officers sealed off an extensive stretch of paths and woodland as they carried out a forensic search of the area around Gravelly Hill, south of Caterham. The seized dogs were also being examined for clues to the death.

Surrey police are also understood to be trying to establish if the woman, who is thought to have travelled with the dogs from Croydon, south London, was a profession­al dog walker. A police source said: “We know the owners of all the dogs and are in contact with them.”

The woman was attacked close to a popular beauty spot on the North Downs Way.

Inspector Lyndsey Whatley said: “We are confident all the dogs involved are in the custody of police.”

 ?? ?? Questions have been raised about the number of animals it is wise to be exercising at the same time. Right, a leonberger
Questions have been raised about the number of animals it is wise to be exercising at the same time. Right, a leonberger

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom