‘Selfish’ dog owners blamed after attack

Elayne De-Keyzer with her dog Archie and signs at Lukeswood
Elayne De-Keyzer with her dog Archie and signs at Lukeswood
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Dog owners who break the rules in a community wood have been branded as selfish after a woman and her terrier were attacked.

Elayne De-Keyzer from Elmswell was walking her dog Archie in the village’s Lukeswood when she says a large boxer off the lead knocked her dog to the ground, in spite of large signs saying dogs must be on a lead.

“My dog was screaming, I was screaming as well,” she said. “I was trying to get the dog off mine and fell over. I was laying on the ground and felt vulnerable.

“I thought I would be attacked and all this would have been availed if the owners had stuck to what the signs say.”

She said the boxer’s owner had been reading a noticeboard which included a ‘dogs on leads’ sign.

Mrs De-Keyser added: “He was defensive at first but then admitted he shouldn’t have been doing it.

“Some people don’t think signs apply to them and don’t think their dogs should be on a lead, but this is a conservation area.

“If I had been a child with a dog, it would have been very scary — I was scared!”

Mary Feeney, chairman of the charity Elmswild, which looks after Lukeswood, said: “It can be very frightening if another dog goes for you like that.

“Most people are very good and keep their dogs on leads but there are one or two people who are selfish and ignore the signs.

“We encourage the whole community to use the wood and it’s open access, but we ask people to keep dogs on leads because it’s a conservation area where we are encouraging wildlife, but also to keep it safe for everybody.

“We do a lot of activities there for young children so it’s essential dogs are under control and you clean up after them.

“It’s not nice when the children are doing things like bug hunts and find mess there.”

The four-acre Lukeswood site won a Lottery grant in 2009 and tree planting started there in 2010. In early 2011, children from Elmswell Primary School planted the 1,683rd tree, meeting the target to plant a tree for every household in the village.

Another 2.5 acres has been bought which Elmswild plan to plant as an orchard.