Beagle cleared of Fairylands biting incidents

  • Private road: Lea Osbourne was bitten by a dog at 13 Windermere Road, the home closest to the junction with Mills Point Lane (Image supplied)

    Private road: Lea Osbourne was bitten by a dog at 13 Windermere Road, the home closest to the junction with Mills Point Lane (Image supplied)

A woman triathlete was bitten by a beagle after she walked on to private property by accident.

Lea Osbourne posted on the MAJ’s List Facebook page yesterday that she had been “badly bitten” by a small dog as she walked with her daughter on Monday morning.

Six other people later said they were bitten by a dog at the same house at 13 Windermere Road, Fairylands, Pembroke, which has warning signs.

But some of the posters, including Ms Osbourne, said it was unclear if the public could legally access the road because it appeared to be a through road on Google Maps.

Ms Osbourne said: “I have heard from six people who were bitten by the same dog over a few years and the signs weren’t always so visible, apparently.

“I understand that I was accidentally trespassing whilst enjoying a 10K walk with my daughter, who was thankfully not bitten. She hadn’t noticed that we were on private land, either.”

Ms Osbourne added: “I want people to know that I wish no harm on the dog itself.

“As a dog owner and lover, I would be mortified to think that my dog bit anyone, let alone six people that I know of, who were all walking or running and not a threat in anyway.”

Ms Osbourne said she suffered a punctured tendon in the back of her knee in the attack and was being treated with antibiotics.

She added she was training for a triathlon in Switzerland next month and will not be able to run or cycle until the infection and swelling in her knee had gone.

The dog’s owner, George Holmes, insisted that he had adequate warning signs and that people should pay attention.

Mr Holmes said: “I am sorry people have ended up being bitten. However, we have signs up to warn people.”

Mr Holmes added: “The signage has been adequate for duration of the dogs’ lives and they are nine years old.

“If people are out walking, they should pay attention to signs — they are there for a reason.”

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Animal Control Section said the section of the road where Ms Osbourne was bitten was private property and, therefore, neither the 30lb dog, or its owner were at fault.

But officials added they would ask Mr Holmes to put up more visible signs.

Mr Holmes said he would “respond to government if and when I hear from them” over the installation of bigger warning signs.

Animal Control confirmed that it had received two recent complaints, one this month and one in June, from members of the public who were bitten by a small dog at the same house.

An animal warden found that they had also wandered on to private property. The area is marked by two roadside signs, each about six inches by 12 inches, which warn the area is private property, that there should be no trespassing and to be beware of dogs.

A spokesman for Animal Control said: “A factor known to have contributed to the June incident is that some internet-based maps of the area show the road in question as a continuous road, intersecting with a nearby roadway.

“The complainant reported her intention to walk or jog past the home of the dog, but in fact the road in question dead-ends on to the private property where these bites occurred.”

The Dogs Act 2008 said that an offence was not committed if a dog was provoked by a criminal act or by behaviour, which was “otherwise unreasonable in the circumstances”.

The spokesman added the dog owners had been told about the incidents, but it was unlikely charges would be brought against them. He said: “The Department of Environment and Natural Resources regrets any unwarranted injury caused by a dog.

“In an attempt to reduce the risk of further injury, Animal Control will appeal to the dog’s owners for further marking or signage to lessen the likelihood of persons wandering unwittingly on to their premises.”

One poster on Maj’s List claimed yesterday she was bitten two years ago. The poster said: “The dog bit me right in front of the owner and she said I was on a private road.

“I live on a private road, too, and people come on to our road often. I don’t consider our road to be strictly private and my neighbours with dogs have invisible fencing.”

Another claimed a dog in the area had bitten a friend in 2018.

The poster said: “We went back in our car to let the owners know as it clearly is a dangerous situation, especially for young children riding their bicycles.”

The poster told The Royal Gazette later: “It was not a massive dog. However, it had quite the bite as it took us a while to stop the bleeding on my friend’s leg.

“It certainly is a potentially dangerous situation as there are kids who ride bikes around there and tourists who stay at Airbnbs who wander around.”

A third poster wrote: “Ex-Fairylands resident and victim of a number of dog attacks. This behaviour is not acceptable.”

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Published Aug 14, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated Aug 14, 2020 at 6:31 am)

Beagle cleared of Fairylands biting incidents

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