When the two horsewomen came across the attack, the dog walker is understood to have screamed: “Go back, go back.”
A friend of one of the horsewomen said: “She just had too many dogs. You cannot be in control with that amount of dogs. If something happens, it’s like having seven small wolves attacking you. The dogs were in a frenzy, acting as a pack, and going for whatever was in front of them.”
The unseated rider, 60-year-old Susan Dove, said: “We could hear shouting and screaming. I thought ‘oh my God, this is awful’.”
The number of injuries from dog bites has been increasing in recent years. Between 1998 and 2018, hospital admissions for dog-related injuries doubled in England, with about 8,000 people admitted each year.
It has been suggested that the “impulse buying” of dogs during the Covid pandemic may have fuelled the problem.
A study at Alder Hey hospital, in Liverpool, found that the number of children admitted for dog bite injuries grew by more than 70 per cent during the first lockdown.
Animal experts have warned that the boom of puppy buying during the pandemic has led to a generation of pets that are poorly socialised and trained and less accustomed to being around other dogs.
Dr Katie Friel-Russell, a veterinary behaviourist, told The Telegraph: “We had a huge surge in really poor breeding, so we had this mass of really poor genetic dogs, anxious parents and puppies raised in really inappropriate settings before they were rehomed.
“The dogs had a really poor start in life, and people were stuck in their homes and couldn’t seek help as classes were shut down and they weren’t socialising.”
She added that very few people would be able to manage walking four dogs at the same time safely and that the response of one dog to a horse or another animal could trigger a reaction in the rest of the group.
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