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A Wellington man put his own safety on the line and was badly bitten while trying to protect his dog from being attacked.
Victor Sledkov, 67, of Tawa, was walking his elderly staffy-boxer-cross Puppy in Karori Park on Friday morning when the attack happened.
The severe bites to his arms kept him in Wellington Hospital until Monday.
Sledkov said he regularly walked Puppy, who was old and arthritic, at Karori Park and most owners either kept their dogs on a leash or put them on one if asked.
As a much larger staffy approached, he grew wary about Puppy's safety, and called out to the owner to put his dog on a leash. When the owner ignored his pleas, Sledkov knelt down and used his arms to protect Puppy.
The other dog walked past the pair, but then turned and came at Puppy, biting down on his head. Sledkov tried to lever the attacking dog's jaw off Puppy's head, which was when he was bitten.
The owner and dog then took off while Sledkov yelled for help and for someone to stop them. "I've never seen a dog owner act so strange," he said. "He was just so slow to react or do anything."
Sledkov was taken to hospital by ambulance and Puppy was checked over by a vet, but was spared stitches. Sledkov will need plastic surgery, and therapy to regain movement in his left hand.
He did not blame the dog, but rather its owner's ignorance about keeping it on a leash.
"I would like to see the owner have the dog taken off him because he shouldn't have animals if he's not going to act in those situations."
Animal control had a description of the man, said to be either a Pacific Islander or Maori, of medium height and solid build and wearing black clothing. His dog was grey, with a white chest and white below its nose.
- The Dominion Post