A friend of mine was attacked in Belfast by a stray dog. He was bleeding and as I lived closest to the attack he turned up on my doorstep one night and I had to call the ambulance. While talking on the phone they asked me if I had custody of the dog, when I told them I didn't they told me that they needed the dog in order to test it for rabies, and that I should try to corner it, and call someone to collect it. If not, my friend could die. I put the phone down and asked him where he'd seen the dog last, and he told me it was a couple of streets away. I left him with my then girlfriend, and I went with towel and baseball bat to collect the dog. I was lucky in that Jason, my girlfriend's brother, was in the house as well and went with me.

It turned out to be a fully grown Rottweiler, and was exactly where Tim told me he would be. I wrapped the towel around my arm, which was already covered with an old jacket. The plan was that I would give it my safe arm, and Jason would stun it by hitting it over the head with the bat, and then we would call the pound. I realise now that we should have called them before going after the dog.

Anyway, I led the way in, and the dog growled as it saw me approach. It barked as I stepped closer, and then leapt straight for my throat. My reflex action in putting my arms up in front of me saved me, and it locked onto the towelled forearm. The problem was that the dog was fairly huge, and very heavy, so it knocked me over on my back and was on top of me, bearing down. Jason clubbed at its back, but missed, grazing its side. I shouted at him to try again, and as the dog's jaws got tighter I could feel them beginning to push into the jacket. He swung again and hit it on its back, square and I felt the back of the dog drop on my legs. Out of another reflex I did a roll to my right and although the jaws stayed locked, I couldn't feel him moving around to follow me. I was now out from under the dog, and partially free. Jason hit again, this time on the head, and I felt its grip relax as it slipped into unconciousness. I freed myself and slowly pulled back. The green towel was still in the dog's jaws, its eyes shut, as it lay on the street. We called the pound.

The authorities arrived and took the dog away. I bought Jason a drink back at the house, and Tim was already in the hospital by the time we got back. The dog didn't have Rabies. They tested me as well when I went to visit, just in case, but found nothing.

I learned a couple of things from my experience:

  1. Leave dog catching to the professionals. Don't play hero.
  2. Dogs are unpredictable, but usually leave you alone if you don't move towards them.
  3. Having someone else there helps an awful lot, a baseball bat is usually a good thing to have as well.
  4. Always get yourself tested for rabies after a dog attack.
  5. Don't be afraid to kill or hurt the dog. It has no such cares for you.
  6. I agree with the rest of you guys, especially Muse. Avoid being attacked in the first place.