The bite wounds inflicted on Fr McDonald in the dog attack.
The bite wounds inflicted on Fr McDonald in the dog attack.

Vicious dog attacks priest

A FEROCIOUS dog, which attacked a priest and his dog in Lismore yesterday morning, is still roaming the streets because of budget cuts to the council’s ranger service.

Father Paul McDonald was left bloody and shaken after he attempted to pull off the Staffordshire dog that ran across the road from Mortimer Oval and attacked his dog, which was on a leash.

When Fr McDonald attempted to pull the staffie away it went for him, leaving him with large gashes on his right arm and left hand, and bite marks to his thigh.

“It attacked my dog right from the start,” he recounted yesterday afternoon. “It was unrelenting in its savage attack.”

“I’ve never experienced anything like it before. It was terrifying. It was such a shock coming out of the blue like that. Fortunately someone came to my assistance.”

So severe was the attack the Good Samaritan wanted to call Fr McDonald an ambulance.

Although needing to rest because he felt faint, Fr McDonald refused the ambulance and instead went to the police station to report the unprovoked attack.

However, police told him the Lismore City Council ranger could not pick up the animal because it was outside regular working hours.

It is understood it is the second time the dog has been reported for attacking other dogs after jumping its fence.

A witness who also reported the attack to police provided authorities with the address of the dog’s owner.

Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell yesterday confirmed that the city’s two animal rangers do not work outside normal hours due to budget cuts in July last year.

“There is pressure on budgets everywhere,” she said. “If an off-duty ranger had to come in from outside the area (where at least one of the two rangers live) it would be a huge expense.

“But I don’t want to talk about budgets. I’m more concerned about Father McDonald.”

Fr McDonald’s dog Zoe, a large 10-year-old German short-haired pointer, was left with a large gash to the neck. She was treated yesterday, but must return to the vet today and undergo surgery.

“I’m not so much concerned about me, because the damage to me is already done, but there is a possibility the dog will attack another dog or another person,” he said.

“And running lose in the park it may harm a child.”

The attack came the day after Local Government Min- ister Barbara Perry urged dog owners to keep their animals under control due to a sharp rise in the number of people being attacked in NSW.

There have been 1122 dog attacks between January and March, a 41per cent increase from the previous three months.

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