Lucky to be alive after dog act

Melissa Edwards and Cr Jill Wood with Percy, who survived a horrific attack by another dog. Photo: Tom Parry

A Sale resident is urging pet-owners to take greater responsibility following a “vicious and violent” attack on her dog.

The incident occurred on Stawell Street at approximately 7pm on Friday, August 5.

Melissa Edwards and her son Francis were walking Percy, a Jack Russell-cross-Toy Poodle, after visiting friends at a residence on Glass Street.

Partway into their journey, the three spotted an unknown woman walking her own dog on the opposite side of the road.

It was shortly after that the unprovoked attack occurred.

“This woman had her dog on the lead and was on the telephone – wasn’t concentrating – and let go, then her dog came over and attacked Percy,” Ms Edwards said.

“She’d let go because (the dog) pulled, so she had no control over the dog.

“It all happened within 15, 20 seconds.”

The other dog bit into Percy’s abdomen when attacking and tore the skin from his body, exposing his internal organs.

The Gippsland Times has seen graphic photographs of Percy’s injuries, which it has chosen not to publish.

Following the attack, the other dog fled the scene, with its handler promising Ms Edwards that she would secure her dog and return.

“She didn’t come back.”

Percy was then taken to The Vets on Cunningham Street, where he was operated on by Dr Jeremy Mannix within minutes of arrival.

The operation took approximately one hour, with Percy’s injuries requiring several stitches.

Luckily, he survived and is now recovering well.

His happy demeanour belies the injuries he received – aside from visible scars and a cone around his head, there is nothing to suggest the ordeal Percy has been through.

Dr Mannix told Ms Edwards that he cannot recall a dog with such severe injuries surviving.

“It is a miracle he survived,” Ms Edwards said.

Percy required several stitches following the attack on August 5.
Photo: Tom Parry

Immediately after the attack, Ms Edwards reached out to police, who in turn encouraged her to get in touch with the animal ranger at Wellington Shire.

The ranger, Craig Stewart, visited Ms Edwards and her family the next morning, taking statements and promising to investigate further.

Speaking to the Gippsland Times, Ms Edwards expressed her sincere gratitude to Mr Stewart and Dr Mannix for their quick actions and their assistance.

With an investigation underway, she is now pleading with others to take responsibility for their dogs, and their actions.

She noted that the handler of the other dog still hasn’t come forward, and fears a similar attack may occur in future.

“I’m really concerned that it’s going to happen to somebody else, and if not a dog, a kid,” Ms Edwards said.

Her efforts have the support of Wellington Shire Councillor and friend, Jill Wood.

“I think we’ve (council) got to put the word out that we expect every dog owner to be a responsible dog owner, and to make sure that they keep control of their dog, on or off the leash,” Cr Wood said.

Under current Wellington Shire laws, dogs are only required to be on a lead in certain areas such as business districts, reserves and children’s playgrounds.

Elsewhere, dogs can be exercised without leads, provided they remain in the effective control of the person walking them.

The dog that attacked Percy on August 5 is described as a Staffordshire-Boxer cross with ginger and white fur.

The handler is described as a woman in her 40s with blond hair, wearing blue jeans and a black jacket.

Anybody with information about the attack is encouraged to phone the animal ranger through the Wellington Shire hotline: 1300 366 244.

For more on when and where dogs should be on leads, visit www.wellington.vic.gov.au/community/dogs-on-leads