Act cautiously around unfamiliar dogs, vet warns
Bermuda’s chief veterinary officer has urged members of the public to “act cautiously” when encountering unfamiliar dogs.
Jonathan Nisbett was speaking after a visitor to the island was savagely attacked by a restricted breed on January 2.
Abigail Alldis, 42, was bitten several times on her right arm and needed stitches to her wounds after she tried to examine the collar of a dog which had wandered on to a friend’s property.
She also suffered bruised ribs, cuts and abrasions to her leg and ankle after she climbed over a balcony to escape the attack, which happened on the grounds of the house she was staying in.
The dog was a German shepherd according to its licence.
Mr Nisbett told The Royal Gazette: “We take this opportunity to advise all persons who encounter unfamiliar dogs to act cautiously.
“Dogs will likely bite out of fear, or protection of itself, its owner, its possessions, or its territory.
“Bites often occur when the animal feels it has no other option. However, some dogs are particularly dangerous and will bite with little provocation.
“Present yourself as non-threatening, keep your distance and, if you feel comfortable, invite the animal to come to you.”
Ms Alldis said in an interview last week that she believed the dog, which attacked her twice at a house on Bostock Hill East in Paget, should be put down.
Mr Nisbett said there was an opportunity for the matter to be settled out of court between the dog’s owners and the victim.
However, he added that given the possibility that it could be taken to court, “it would be inappropriate to discuss this matter extensively in the media”.
In deciding the fate of the dog, the wardens will be guided by numerous factors, including the wishes of the victim, the history of offences by the animal or the owner, of which there were none on record, and the ability of the owners to securely keep the animal in the future.
Mr Nisbett said that the owners had indicated that they would pay the medical costs of the victim which were about $900.
He added: “However, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources cannot give assurances regarding when settlement will occur as this is a matter that is agreed between the two parties.”
Bermuda’s animal warden can be contacted directly on 239-2327 or via the police service at 295-0011.