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Dog owners' warning after Norwich attack

PUBLISHED: 14:02 26 January 2011

The victims of a ferocious dog attack are urging dog owners to take responsibility for their pets after being left hurt and traumatised.

Jean Tate, 67, from Norwich, sustained deep cuts to her hand after being attacked by Staffordshire Bull Terrier Buster while out walking with her friend Christine McAllister-Smith, 59, who owned terrier-cross Norse, which she had on a lead.

The trio were walking along Riverside Walk towards the Adam and Eve pub at Bishopgate in July when Staffordshire bull terrier siblings Buster and Mitsy approached them after being let off their leads.

Buster then attacked Norse and during the ensuing melee, Mrs Tate was bitten while trying to pull Buster off, with Norse suffering bites to the back legs.

Last week, the dogs’ owner Natasha Dye, 25, of Connaught Drive, Heigham Grove, was given a conditional discharge and ordered to pay £35 compensation to Mrs Tate after being found guilty of two counts of failing to control the dogs by Norwich magistrates.

But the two friends, who were visiting the Adam and Eve for a drink to catch up, urged owners to keep their dogs on leads and muzzled if possible, because of the potential dangers to children.

Both women, who have owned dogs, said dogs should learn proper discipline. Mrs Tate said: “It is the responsibility of dog owners to teach dogs manners and if you have got a dog that is like that and has a pattern of attacking other dogs, to keep the dog on a lead and put a muzzle on it.”

The former Norfolk County Council secretary decided to take action against Dye, who was with her partner at the time of the attack, because of the lack of sympathy she had shown.

The court hearing heard Dye told Mrs McAllister-Smith to “shut her mouth” and “mind her own life” when she asked why the dogs were not on leads.

Mrs Tate said she had also met Dye and her two dogs last January while out walking Norse, when she thought she was going to be knocked over by the two assailants.

On that occasion, Dye said it was her fault because she did not keep walking.

“Their attitude was ‘why didn’t you keep on walking? It is your fault because you did not keep on walking.’ That is what gobsmacked me,” she said.

Since the attack, the grandmother has struggled to pursue her embroidering hobby because of the damage done to her hand and worries more about dogs in public, even if they are on leads.

Mrs McAllister-Smith, who lives with husband Peter, 57, near Plumstead, agreed with her friend’s sentiments and also believed dogs should be kept on leads in public.

She said: “I think dog owners sometimes don’t realise how temperamental their pets can be. They can be one temperament with the owner and something completely different with another person.”

Have you suffered from an animal attack? Contact Dominic Bareham on 01603 772419 or email dominic.bareham2@archant.co.uk.

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