Petition to follow as Facebook group proves an immediate hit after dog attack (From Watford Observer)
Savage dog’s indifferent owner triggers online ‘leads at all times’ campaign
5:10pm Wednesday 15th August 2012 in News by Ben Endley, Senior reporter
when Sarah Martin’s Staffordshire bull terrier Rufus was set upon by another dog she was quick to intervene. but her shock at the other dog owner’s indifference to the incident inspired her to launch an online campaign.
the 32-year-old Leavesden mother-of-four feels there should be more pressure on dog owners to keep their pets on leads and under control in public parks.
the attack, which happened as she was walking the dog in Woodside Park, close to her home, on Saturday afternoon, inspired her to create a group on Facebook to assess the level of support.
She was astonished when the Help our Dogs group was “liked” by more than 1,000 people within three hours.
Now she hopes to launch a petition in favour of restrictions in public parks and will hand this to Watford Borough Council and the Prime Minister’s office.
She said: “Rufus was attacked while we were walking. the other dog kept going for his face.
“I immediately straddled him and tried to turn him round so if he was bitten it wasn’t on the face.
“The owner came over and started talking like it was my dog’s fault then he just shooed his dog off and carried on walking, without putting it on a lead.
“This sort of attack wouldn’t happen if all dogs were on leads in public parks and that’s what inspired me to take action.
“It is really encouraging to get such a good response, particularly as a lot of the people on the page are dog owners wanting to protect their dogs.”
Part-time bar worker Ms Martin, of Linden Lea, Leavesden, says she is happy to let her children play with Rufus despite the breed having a bad reputation.
She said: “I have been a dog owner all my life and although Staffies have a bad reputation he is the best dog in the world.
“It is not the dog, it is the owners that make the difference so what I am trying to do is start a petition to make it common law that dogs must be kept on leads.
“I want to do a petition and hand it in to Watford Borough Council and I’d also like to take this to Downing Street because this is not just a problem in our area.”
Watford Borough Council byelaws already state that dogs must be kept under control at all times while in public parks, however it is not specified how this must be done.
A council spokesman urged anybody who is the victim of a dog attack to contact police on 101 to report the incident.