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An owner is urging riders to report potentially dangerous dogs after her two showjumpers were seriously injured in a dog attack last week (Tuesday 10 March).

The horses were grazing at a yard in Shadforth, near Durham, at around 9am when a loose dog broke into their pen. Owner Jan Swailes heard the commotion and chased the dog away.

The horses, With Pleasure and Lux Jazzy, suffered serious wounds to their legs. Mrs Swailes’ vet told her they will be out of work for several months.

“This has been devastating,” said Jan, whose daughter Helen had been hoping to qualify the horses for the bronze league at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS).

“The whole situation has been very distressing.”

The vet treated the horses’ wounds and administered intravenous antibiotics, and has since returned four times to give further treatment.

The mounting charges have cost around £1,000 so far.

Helen will miss out on her chance to qualify for HOYS as With Pleasure will not be back competing for two months while Lux Jazzy will be out of action for at least three months.

Jan reported the attack to police who advised she made a civil claim for the vet bill.

“This is totally unfair,” she continued. “This is will cost us money and take time to settle.”

She is now urging other riders to report potentially dangerous dogs to the police at the earliest opportunity.

“Horse owners should ensure that loose dogs are reported immediately to police as no dog, no matter how non-aggressive, bite — it is a natural reaction.

Dog owners must be made aware of the Control of Dogs Act and the police must enforce this. This legislation is in place, but it has not been widely publicised.”

Under the Dangerous Dogs Act it is an offence for any dog to be dangerously out of control in a public place. If prosecuted, owners could face a fine up to £20,000 and/or be sent to prison for up to six months.

The British Horse Society urges horse owners to report all incidents to www.horseaccidents.org.uk