Coodanup resident Shad Bridger spent the last nine years he’s been living with his furry friend Shark waiting for a vicious dog attack to happen, and hoping he would be able to step in and save Shark’s life.
On Tuesday last week, when it finally happened, Mr Bridger ended up spending the night in Fiona Stanley, and Shark in Greenfields vet.
About 4.30pm Mr Bridger was walking nine-year-old Red Heeler Shark along Tankerton Way, Coodanup, when a 40 kg Doberman-sized dog unexpectedly escaped through the fence of a nearby home and charged against the pair.
It took three attempts on the pair for the owner to be able to take the dog away, and left Shark with remarkable lacerations that needed stitching and a head cone, and Mr Bridger with part of his index finger missing.
“If I hadn't had done anything she certainly would've killed my dog on the road, and that's why I jumped in because I don't want to see him die in the road,” Mr Bridger said.
“I've had him for nine years now and he's like my child.”
Both best friends are recovering well, but Mr Bridger said he is upset the inevitable happened.
“I always knew it was inevitable and that's the reason I'm angry,” he said.
“Not about this attack, but the number of times I've had to avoid getting him attacked by vicious dogs who are always off leash and they always come charging out of people's houses.
“I knew eventually it would come down to what am I going to do when he gets attacked, how far am I willing to go to save him.
“And apparently it was to get bitten and lose a bit of finger.”
Mr Bridger counts more than 10 attempts on them by nearby dogs, including a Rottweiler biting Shark’s face, and a Staffy Bull Terrier he had to intercept.
He said they had already rerouted their walk in the past, leaving Coodanup to walk around Dudley Park, a safer area from attacks.
He said he doesn’t blame any particular owners, but believes it is time for a change.
“When I walk the route that I walk every day I can count at least five or six houses where I go past this people's fences and the dogs are like ravenous to get us,” Mr Bridger said.
“And that's my real issue with what's going on.
“People get them because they are in love with the size of the dog and the muscles on it, and then they don't bother training it.
“And then it gets to two or three years old, they become much much harder to train and they are aggressive, they are antisocial towards other dogs.
“So instead of doing anything about it they shove them in the backyard and just hope that they don't get out.”
Mr Bridger said it’s the owners duty to take responsibility for their own pets and stop the assaults on innocent passerby dogs, either through early and proper training, restraining them in their backyards or putting a muzzle on when they go out for a walk.
“I think we need some more responsibility on the owners to train these dogs and to stop this antisocial type of dog issue going on,” he said.
“Maybe dogs need to be muzzled when they are on leash, or maybe coloured collars for dogs that are aggressive, so you see in advance and you can get away.
“It makes me sad because he [Shark] didn't deserve it, he's gone through this for no reason, for a completely preventable reason.”
Shark will be able to get his cone off and hit the streets on Saturday.
However, Mr Birdger said the couple will have to look for an alternative safer route again.