A man whose stomach was savaged by a suspected pitbull as he tried to visit a village shop has today spoken of his horrific ordeal.
John Hulls, 48, from Ingol, Preston, was viciously attacked as he visited the shop on his way home from work.
The incident comes as new figures from Preston Council show more than 1,800 escaped, dumped and suspected out-of-control dogs have been seized by enforcement officers in the city in the past six years.
Mr Hulls was attacked by an animal that had been left tied up outside the Nisa convenience store, in Village Green Lane, Ingol, at the door and as Mr Hulls walked in the dog attacked him without being provoked.
He managed to pull away and was left with a number of injuries, but believes the attack would have been much worse if the dog had not been tied up.
The incident And it is the third dog bite recorded outside the same set of shops in recent weeks - each thought to involve a different dog.
Mr Hulls said following the attack, on December 3, concerned customers in the shop asked him if he was all right as blood started to seep through his top.
When he arrived home and saw the actual damage he had to go to the Royal Preston Hospital for treatment.
He had the puncture wounds from the dogs teeth and severe bruising. He has to have his wounds dressed for a week and take a course of antibiotics.
He said: “ I confronted the dog owner in the shop and he basically said the dog was tied up, so it was not his responsibility. He didn’t even apologise.
“I’m glad action has been taken. If the dog had attacked a child at the height it bit my stomach, it would have been the child’s face or neck.
“It has made me a bit wary of dogs, I was never a great lover of them anyway.”
It was the third dog bite attack outside the same set of shops in the last few weeks.
Members of the public were so concerned at the reports of dog bites in the area that they raised the issue as a priority at the PaCT meeting for Ingol and Tanteron.
The Evening Post joined a team of six officers as they seized a dog from a terraced home on Tag Croft, Ingol. It is believed to belong to a window cleaner who lives at the address with other family members.
Two children watched from the window as the dog was led into a plastic crate and put into a waiting police van.
Neighbours came out of their homes to watch and one man gave verbal abuse to police officers.
A short time later the dog’s owner returned home. He will be interviewed by police at a later date.
Two trained dog officers at the scene said the animal needed to be properly examined but the initial indications were that it was a pitbull - a banned breed.
The incident comes as official council figures show that upwards of 200 dogs are expected to be seized by council officers this year.
Preston Council is called to seize dogs which either escape from homes - or are abandoned by owners - and are running loose or where concerned residents call officers to tell them they feel an owner is not in control of their pet.
Andrew Howard, environmental health manager for Preston Council, says the number of dogs they are called to seize has dropped in recent years. By the end of March next year it is expected to be around the 200 mark, compared to a high of 497 in 2008/9.
However, he said anecdotal evidence suggests more ‘status dogs’ including mastiffs and Staffordshire bull terriers are being seized and ending up in kennels.
He said: “A stray could be where it has just got out or it is not under control with the owner present, so it is potentially causing a bit of havoc.
“We have some variations over the year and predominantly the figures seem to increase in October – I don’t know whether that is people trying to get rid of dogs before Christmas. And we always seem to get a kink after Christmas when the newness of the puppies has worn off.
“The fall (in numbers), a lot of it is down to the work we do.”
Preston Council’s team, which was recently given a prestigious industry award for its work in the area, holds regular microchipping events and visits kennels and homes of dog owners to give advice.