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Larry Neild in pit-bull attack

Here the Liverpool Confidential columnist tells of horror ordeal in Sudley House grounds

Published on September 2nd 2010.

Larry Neild in pit-bull attack

DESPITE being bitten, at the age of seven, by a German shepherd, I’ve been a life-long dog lover.

The woman owner, looking frightened and distressed, said she’d call an ambulance... Instead she jumped
into her car, reversed and drove off

So it was somewhat ironic when, last week, I was viciously attacked, unprovoked, by a pit bull, scarred for life and enjoying the hospitality of the incredibly efficient Royal Liverpool University Hospital.

I have been reading various Facebook accounts of my eyeball-to-eyeball with a pit bull. So I thought I’d set the record straight by writing about what actually happened.

Monday evening, perfect blue skies and my delightful whippet and I embarked on what was supposed to be a pleasant walk in the grounds of Mossley Hill’s Sudley House.

A pit-bull, sporting the traditional chest plate (makes them look like gladiators, don’t you think) came around the corner. It was on a leash, so no problem. The woman at the other end, aged in her forties or fifties, pointed out her dog “wasn't very playful” and that it was on a leash. So Ferdie and I walked on, and, as I did so, the dog lurched forward and grabbed my left arm in its large jaws.

The dog was not planning to let go. A calm came over me and reasoned if I did not escape its clutches me, or at least my arm, were in grave danger.

I decided the only way forward, and away from its vice-like grip, was to take a deep breath and yank my arm away. As I did this, I could feel and hear my flesh tear.

I fell backwards and looked down at the damage: a huge wound pouring with blood.

The woman owner, looking frightened and distressed, said she’d call an ambulance. She ran to her car and placed my attacker in the vehicle. I thought she would then come back to help me. By this stage I was in terrible pain and in deep shock. Instead she jumped into her car, reversed and drove off. I tried to run towards it to capture its number but, as the blood was now gushing, I thought I’d better concentrate on myself.

George, a security guy at Sudley House, witnessed the attack on CCTV and came running to help. Thank God for George. At this stage I had collapsed into a useless heap, but he held on, keeping my injuries under control.

An ambulance trip to the Royal was accompanied by police questions and within minutes I was being treated.

Next day my arm was worse, with spreading infection, poison and bruising, so it was back to the Royal. They decided I should go in for 24-48 hours for intensive, intravenous antibiotics.

The stay in the observation ward was a memorable experience. We’re so lucky to have such a wonderful hospital in our city.

One fellow patient, defending dogs, told everyone how her own Staffy was so wonderful, it allowed her four-year-old to ride around the house on its back, horse-style.

“It’s the owners not the dogs,” she bellowed. I kept my head low but interjected: |”Yeh but the owner didn’t bite me - her dog did.”

I’m now on the mend, still in pain after eight days, having occasional flashbacks and thinking how much worse it might have been.

Should the owner be clamped in irons? Should the dog be destroyed? That wouldn’t help me, as such.

I like to seek a positive from every negative in life. I’d be happier if the city council tried a pilot scheme in one Liverpool park, banning un-muzzled pit-bulls and pit-bull types, using no more than existing parks and gardens bye-laws.

My guess is that such a scheme would be so popular it would spread around the city, the county, the country.

Politicians and the police don’t have the energy or will to tackle this, so let us ordinary folk sort it.

Place warning signs at park entrances stating, boldly, that pit bulls and their types are denied entry without muzzles.

It would work. It would give people the opportunity to challenge and demand intervention and action. I reckon it could even be a money spinner for the council with on-the-spot fines.

The woman who abandoned me in such a state should be ashamed of herself, as well she may well be. Her dog needs muzzling in public.

The Kennel Club is supporting a campaign for change under the umbrella slogan: “The deed not the breed”.

We know certain dogs, usually of the pit pull variety, lock their jaws onto their prey. I wouldn’t allow such animals to roam Knowsley Safari Park, let alone the parks of Merseyside.

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42 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Exasperated CitizenAugust 31st 2010.

Perhaps the City Council’s so-called ‘crime wardens’ could be taken off their usual job of persecuting lone women dropping single fag ends (whilst carefully turning a blind eye to gangs of lads dropping many fag ends, other litter and drinking alcohol in the alcohol-free zones) in town and put them on duty in the parks and in the grounds and lawns of public buildings where these imbecile slobs exercise their dangerous dogs.

broken_britainAugust 31st 2010.

Well there you go in nanny-state Britain. Had Mr. Neild been allowed to carry a hammer to smash the jaw and skull of the devil dog in order to free his arm his injuries might have been much less severe, but then the police WOULD have intervened had he done so - and on the wrong side too.

Well WisherAugust 31st 2010.

Perhaps the CCTV can be put on Face Book and like the woman chucking the cat in the bin, this vile scumbag will be identified?

Lamenting LiverpolitanAugust 31st 2010.

No criticism was intended Laz and I am sure warm wishes to you were implicit in all those postings demanding the scallywoman's head on a spike!

PC-49August 31st 2010.

Get the police on the job! They can Tazer them!

MattieAugust 31st 2010.

Please read my post properly, I never said he was responsible, I said he had to take some of the blame. Incidents are rarely black and white, there is often other things involved which are not taken into consideration. This should never have happened, but as we are all human we all make mistakes.

AnonymousAugust 31st 2010.

Learn to spell wimp, wimp, or **** off.

The Bulldog BreedAugust 31st 2010.

Whatever happened to the Dangerous Dogs Act? With all the fuss made at the time we could have reasonably expected to have had all these dangerous dogs exterminated by now. Are these dogs immigrants? Or are they cruelly inbred in cages by evil people wanting to get rich quick because they know they can charge the earth selling the pups to gullible meatheads and criminals?

Carl WartonAugust 31st 2010.

Mattie, what a complete fool you are. Thank god people like you aren't in charge.

Captain JackAugust 31st 2010.

I hope the police are doing something about this, or will they wait for someone else to be fatally wounded

AnonymousAugust 31st 2010.

Lucky escape Laz. The dog will attack someone else, a child maybe, and then we will have all the usual hand wringing about how it never hurt a fly and the usual knee jerk campaigns in the media. Only answer is to cull the owners of these dogs. There are too many overweight, feral Britons. This is a consequence of peace time and prosperity.

DigAugust 31st 2010.

I know. Poor that. I'm hanging my head in shame. I was just making light of a serious situation but shouldn't have. A very public apology is here... SORRY!

AnonymousAugust 31st 2010.

Hear, hear!

MattieAugust 31st 2010.

I thought that would get a comment, I don't know the Whippet was off the lead but normally loose dogs do go up to any dog including those on a lead. He had been warned by the lady about her dog so why was he so close? Yes I do have a better understanding of aggressive dogs than most, I work with them and turn them round, I am also fed up with people allowing their off lead dogs to approach my dog on a lead and say, "he is just being friendly" or "He just wants to play" then blame my dog that is under control. Ask any Policeman, a dog on a lead is considered under control, a dog off the lead no matter how good he is is considered NOT under control.

DigAugust 31st 2010.

I heard it was Angie Sammons!

LazAugust 31st 2010.

For the record, I did give the dog a wide berth. It was on a leash, did not show any signs of anger or aggression and as I passed the lady and her dog in suddenly jumped towards me, still on leash, and grabbed my arm. The lady herself looked shocked by the suddeness of this attack. As of Friday, Sept 3, my arm is healing nicely though my muscles are still in a lot of pain. This, says the doctor, is because of the tug of war effect between me, my arm and the dog. To those people who have expressed warm wishes I say a thank you. To the more critical I would say LC wouldn't be the same without you guys.

AnonymousAugust 31st 2010.

I do hope the Police are taking this seriously, it shouldn't take Poirot to track down this woman. Hopefully they will investigate, and not wait until this dog kills a child.

CuriousAugust 31st 2010.

How do you know Larry's dog was off the lead, Mattie? In fact, you seem to know a lot about this, don't you?

AnonymousAugust 31st 2010.

Mattie is an idiot suggesting that Larry was responsible.

Cliff Edge-HillAugust 31st 2010.

Mossley Hill is terribly common these days.

AnonymousAugust 31st 2010.

What respectable woman in her fifties is taking a pitbull in an armoured chest plate for a walk in posh Sudley House. Be some gangster's missus. Plenty of them run "businesses" around there

MattieAugust 31st 2010.

I do thing that ALL dogs should be under control, this lady did warn you that her dog wasn't playful, why were you so close? How do you know the dog was a Pit Bull? Many dogs have those harnesses, most are Staffy crosses, crossed with a bigger dog. It is impossible for any dog to lock their jaw, some breeds do have strong face muscles which means they can hold on tighter and longer than most dogs but their jaws don't lock.I am sorry you were attacked like this, the owner was wrong in not having her dog muzzled but even muzzled dogs can do a lot of damage. Having a strong harness on him was the right thing to do, it did give her more control of the dog, pity you were so close the dog got you when he leaped.This owner should have called the ambulance, she is now in the position were she may loose her dog, she was taking precautions. She had her dog on a lead, your dog was off the lead and you allowed him to get close, it was your dog that was out of control.The owner is partly responsible for this because the dog wasn't muzzled but you are also partly responsible.

Jerry SpringerAugust 31st 2010.

The RSPCA are calling for the dog licence to be brought back. Good move

Confidential LoverAugust 31st 2010.

Shame on you, Dig

Penny LaneAugust 31st 2010.

If the police can't be bothered, the only body of people who would stand up to these thugs and shoot the dogs if necessary is the RSPCA but they are few in number and overstretched as it is.

DigsyAugust 31st 2010.

This woman is clearly not responsible enough to be muzzling a dog with a history of unprovoked attacks on humans. The only sensible course of action in this situation would be to destroy the dog and prosecute the owner. This might not help Larry much but it would protect the wider population and especially children. Time is of the essence in tracking this idiot down - the incident could be being repeated as we are reading this with far more severe consequences.

Not AmusedAugust 31st 2010.

That's poor, even by your standards Dig

AnonymousAugust 31st 2010.

Is the CCTV on Face Book yet?

Voice of reasonAugust 31st 2010.

All people who own dogs are cruel, unthinking people. A working dog is the exception. Nobody should be allowed to keep a dog as a piece of furniture. Those who first domesticated dogs were far better owners because the dog had a role. Now it is allowed to lie on the settee, drool and beg for food and is given human values. It does not know its place. These domestic "pet" owners are extremely selfish

Harold SnoadAugust 31st 2010.

I suppose that there will always ugly, vicious people who want ugly, vicious dogs so they can bully, frighten and intimidate normal people in the community.

DigsyAugust 31st 2010.

Voice of reason, I am afraid you are anything but. My dog wasn't bred for me. I didn't create him for my needs. He was a 6 year old mongrel when I got him from a rescue centre. I gave him a home, feed him, keep him warm and try to make his life as active and fulfilling as possible. So that makes me cruel and unthinking does it? Maybe I should have shot him....

anonAugust 31st 2010.

I was really sorry and shocked to read this. I was only at Sudley myself last week, enjoying the sunshine, seeing families picnicking and owners walking their dogs and it occured to me that if I got a dog this would be a nice safe place to walk it. Sadly irresponsible people seem to be attracted to powerful dogs they cannot or do not control then inflict their selfishness on the rest of us. Such a shame. Best wishes to Larry.

ProfAugust 31st 2010.

My best wishes to you Harry and hope you have a speedy recovery. A terrible ordeal for you. I used to regard Sudley grounds as a safe runaround area for youngsters after a trip to the gallery but I have noticed an increase in the number of dogs being let run loose, mostly what appear to be friendly family pooches with responsible owners but a few nasty looking buggers that frankly look too big or powerful for their owners to control. Seeing a few of the bigger dogs charge over aggressively to some harmless pooch made me think that at some point, somebody's pet is going to be torn to shreds in front of them or worse, some kid is going to get attacked. Typical that these people ruin it for everyone.

Angie SammonsAugust 31st 2010.

Oi Downey you cheeky ba****d, if you want to make it up to me, I suggest you work out a where you are going to get a new spare wheel cover for that bloody car you sold me.

AnonymousAugust 31st 2010.

You trying to be funny Dig, or what?

AnonymousAugust 31st 2010.

yeh, and the drug scum the woman is probably married to.

Jack RussellAugust 31st 2010.

Sadly if the old bag is identified, it will be the dog getting destroyed and not her

AnonymousAugust 31st 2010.

So rather than it being a Pit Bull, it was probably only a cross between a Pit Bull and a Staffy that caused that horrendous wound. Laz, you little whimp.

Laura NorderAugust 31st 2010.

Mattie gets my vote! I love the idea that Laz should 'take some of the blame' for getting too close! Does that go for bus queues hit by speeding and/or drunken motorists -'serves them right for being in the way!'. Right on! And as for those stupid victims of terrorist bombings, don't get me started...

broken_britainAugust 31st 2010.

If the scumdog can't behave among other dogs or people it should NOT be allowed out in public and it should be kept permanently inside the tacky suburban palace of kitsch with its cretin owners. With any luck it might injure or kill them.

Sir Hugo BaskervilleAugust 31st 2010.

I counsel you by way of caution to forbear from crossing the moor in those dark hours when the powers of evil are exalted

AnonymousAugust 31st 2010.

The police are powerless or disinterested in killer dogs stalking our parks, politicians are pip squeaks. Maybe, as Laz suggests, people power will drive these dogs out of our parks and leisure areas. The problem is getting out of control and is beyond a joke. Ordinary folk, ordinary dog owners should finally say to the owners of these potentially lethal weapons - you and your dog are not welcome in our park, so go. Will the council have the guts to go for this. It will be a big winner if they do.

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