Cyclist savaged by dog at reserve

A RYE man was savaged by a dog in a terrifying attack at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve on Sunday.

The man, who does not want to be named, was attacked by an African Ridgeback - a dog used to hunt lions in Africa, as he cycled through the reserve.

He suffered a deep gash in his leg which had to be treated in hospital.

Now he has called for Rother Council to take more action to protect people from dogs.

He said: “I plucked up the courage to go for a cycle ride in the Rye Harbour Nature reserve despite my fear of a dog attack, caused by previous attacks in this area. This was a mistake and I shall never cycle in the reserve again.

“I was cycling along the road parallel to the sea from Rye Harbour in the direction of Pett level.

“Three people were cycling in the opposite direction. Their dog, a South African Ridgeback was off the lead running in front of the owners. It was not controlled in any way.

“The dog diverted from its path in order to attack me. It bit into my leg. The injury was deep and bled a lot.

“The owners were not apologetic. In spite of the copious blood running down my leg the lady owner claimed that they were responsible dog owners. Instead they defended their dog’s actions stating that the dog had never done this before and that the dog was only 15 months old - as if this somehow made the attack acceptable.

“I pointed out that they should keep their dog on a short lead when they meet other people and that it is a legal requirement to keep dogs under control in public places.

“They thought that this was totally unreasonable. They were very unhappy about having their “nice family outing spoiled” by my complaint.

“They said this as if the attack by their dog was my fault and they resented my complaint!

“I went to A&E at the Conquest Hospital. The staff were great and I was given excellent service very quickly. The nurses commented that they do not usually stitch dog bites as there is always considerable risk of infection but because my wound was so deep that they would need to do so.

“Alongside the sutures I was given antibiotics and a tetanus injection. The nurses stressed that it is very important to come back for further examination because the risk of infections from dog bites is very high.”

“They said that the number of attacks by dogs seems to be increasing and that the severity of the attacks is also increasing.

“When one considers the huge sums of money spent on fences at the reserve to protect the wildlife from dogs, it would seem only right to make more effort to ensure people are safe too.

“I think that Rother District Council could help by providing signs to encourage proper control of dogs on a short lead in public places.”