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Poodle mauled in Coombs by two pit bulls in front of owner Steven Birchall

Andrew Brown

Published: August 13 2017 - 12:15AM

A Wright resident says he's considering pressing charges against the owner of two pit bulls after his dog was mauled in a vicious dog attack.

Steven Birchall was running with his 12-year-old poodle, JP, in Coombs just after 5pm on August 6 when the dog was bitten on the neck and the head by the pit bulls, who were both off-lead at the time.

Mr Birchall said the dog attack had left him reeling, with JP needing to have part of his ear sewn back on and requiring several plasma transfusions.

"It happened in a second. They went straight to his neck on both sides in a formation and they didn't let go," he said.

"I just froze and didn't know what to do. I panicked, and thought he was dead straight away."

Mr Birchall was then forced to fend off the two pit bulls until the owner of the off-lead dogs arrived to try and pull them off.

One of the pit bulls went for JP a second time after originally being pulled back.

"My dog was on the ground, and one of them went for JP again and I tried to pull them off," Mr Birchall said.

"The owner [of the pit bulls] then got verbal at me and said that the incident was my fault and that I should've picked up my dog."

After the owner of the pit bulls left the scene, Mr Birchall took JP to a nearby vet, where he is still recovering from his injuries.

Mr Birchall said JP might not be able to run again following the attack.

"He had deep wounds to his scalp and back of the neck. He's also got very bad ligament damage on the right-hand side of his leg, which he may not recover from," he said.

Mr Birchall said he's referred the incident to ACT rangers, who are investigating the matter.

The mauling comes after two dogs were mauled in their own backyard in Wanniassa by three dogs last weekend.

Domestic Animal Services confirmed on Friday it was holding three dogs in relation to the attack while the incident was being investigated.

Recent figures from Transport Canberra and City Services show an increase in the number of dog attacks in Canberra.

There were 389 reported dog attacks during the 2016-17 financial year, up from 360 during the previous year.

A person was injured in 88 instances of dog attacks.

A directorate spokeswoman said she couldn't provide further details as the investigation was ongoing.

"Whilst we can't comment on this specific case, there are numerous provisions made under the [Domestic Animals] Act  for charges to be laid against people who do not practice responsible pet ownership," the spokeswoman said.

"Roaming dogs can be a danger to themselves, people and other animals."

Mr Birchall said he was willing to go through the justice system, with the vet bill due  to cost thousands of dollars.

"You shouldn't have dangerous dogs in public areas, or they should be muzzled at least," he said.

"JP will be 13 next month, and I don't think he'll be able to run again like he used to."

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