Dog owner claimed her pet was ‘traumatised’ after it ‘launched itself’ at horse and rider

  • A rider who was injured, as was her horse, when a loose dog “launched itself” at them in a country park has urged owners to keep their pets under control.

    Pauline McAllister and her 10-year-old mare Greenore Jill (Georgie) are both “sore and stiff” as a result of the incident, in County Down, Northern Ireland, on 4 January.

    “I’m a tough old bird – but if it had been a child, it could have been really bad,” Pauline told H&H.

    Pauline explained that riders pay Newry, Mourne and Down District Council £25 for annual permits to ride in the 200-acre Delamont Country Park, and she goes a couple of times a week.

    “I usually go on my own, or meet with friends; this time my friend was riding my young horse for his first trip,” she said. “We were in front and my horse just stopped and stood as still as a rock. She doesn’t look at things but she’d seen the woman hiding.”

    On Pauline’s hatcam video, the unseen woman can be heard saying the dog “doesn’t like horses”. After loud barking, the dog can be seen shooting out of the hedge, straight at the group.

    “The dog launched itself at us – and you can see the outcome,” Pauline said. “My horse spun round and went under the trees, and I got knocked off and ended up on my back. My head hit the only bit of tarmac around; it was horrible. But my horse just stood over me and stayed there, even though the dog was round her.”

    Pauline said the dog ran back towards its owner, who was still “hiding in the bushes”.

    Video includes some swearing

    “My friend said ‘Your dog’s just attacked the horses’ and she said it ‘hasn’t been near any horses’ and ‘You’ve traumatised my dog’,” Pauline said. “She didn’t come to see if I was ok, she was crying about her dog. I’ve got dogs and if one of mine had done that, I’d have been mortified.”

    Pauline said two of her fellow riders, whose horses had also been upset, rode off in the opposite direction, while she and her friend on the youngster walked back to the car park.

    She spoke to the park warden, who went to find the woman and take her details, and has also spoken to the British Horse Society legal team and the police, as well as the council.

    “I completed a council accident form but we’ve had issues with dogs there before,” she said. “I don’t want to cause an argument with the council but there’s no way I’m going back there on my own; I don’t know what I’d have done if I had been on my own last week.”

    Pauline added that Georgie has been slightly lame since the attack, and had to have physio, and Pauline had “spent the past week hobbling about”. She had to pay someone to look after her horses, and will have to buy a new hat.

    “But I just want Georgie to be all right,” she said. “Owners should be more responsible. In that park there’s a huge field that’s completely enclosed, so dogs can run around and have a great time. But in the rest of the park, there are signs saying they should be on leads. There’s a huge number of dogs bought in lockdown and not socialised properly, and running around off the lead, it’s just awful.

    “There are too many incidents, and I’ve seen awful things. Owners need to be more responsible.”

    A spokesman for Newry, Mourne and Down District Council told H&H: “Newry, Mourne and Down District Council is aware of the matter and an investigation is ongoing, therefore, no further comment can be provided at this time.”

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