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A rider whose mother’s horse sustained horrific injuries when a dog “saw red” and attacked has started a petition calling for changes to the law.

Emily Bunton’s mother Anna Bunton and her 21-year-old mare Mo were returning home from a hack with a friend on 15 February when the Staffordshire bull terrier attacked.

The dog was playing in a ford through which the riders had to pass, but Emily said it had taken no notice of some other horses going through ahead of them.

“It just went for my mum’s horse,” she told H&H.

“Mo took off and galloped up the road, with the dog biting and chasing her. Mum managed to turn round to ride back to the owner, as it wouldn’t let go.

“The dog just saw red. It was hanging off Mo; it tore an enormous hole in her chest, and was going for her throat and stomach – it clearly meant business.”

The dog bit the other horse, causing a “relatively small” wound, and also attacked Anna, drawing blood through thick jodhpurs.

Emily said the owner was trying her best to call the dog off, eventually “going under a rearing horse” to grab it, after which the two riders walked the horses the short distance home and the vet was called.

“There was a huge amount of blood,” Emily said. (Warning: extremely graphic picture).

“Mo’s muscle was hanging out of the hole and you could see the jugular vein; the vet said another millimeter and it would have been game over for her.

“Her legs were cut up too; it took the vet six and a half hours to stitch her up.”

Emily said at first, the owner was shocked and apologetic, offering to pay for the veterinary treatment, and that police were called but the officer said no crime had been committed.

Some days later, when Emily’s father visited the owner to hand over the vet’s bill, she had moved out.

“They’d just gone,” Emily said. “There was no sign of life.

“They’ve got away with it but also, the dog is dangerous. It’s caused severe injuries to horse and human but now it could be anywhere, and this could happen again.”

It is against the law for dogs to be “dangerously out of control” and the maximum prison sentence for the owner in the case of injury to a person is five years in prison.

“But there’s ambiguity and there seems to be a lackadaisical attitude towards it,” said Sarah. “I don’t think it’s good enough.

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“The police should be able to take dogs to the vet and get details of the attack put on its microchip so if it moves away, vets would be able to see. But the police said this was the first time [this dog had attacked] so nothing could be done, it’s so frustrating.

“I don’t want an us and them attitude between dog and horse owners; I just want people to be sensible and keep dogs under control.

“I couldn’t sit around and do nothing; a change has to be made and I want to try and make a difference.”

Mo was turned out for the first time since the accident on 25 March and is “looking incredible,” Emily said.