Off-leash pitbull attacks terrified horse in Sydney park: 'So scary'

·3-min read

Horrific footage has captured the shocking moment an off-leash pitbull attacked a horse at a Sydney park on Saturday.

Shannon Bishop told Yahoo News Australia she stumbled across the “awful” incident immediately after parking her car at Centennial Park.

“I poked over to see the horse reared up on its hind legs, which caught my attention,” she said, prompting her to pull out her phone and record the attack.

Ms Bishop’s footage shows the off-leash white pitbull chasing the distressed horse as a crowd of people try to catch it.

The pitbull is seen trying to attack the horse in footage.
The pitbull attack was recorded by stunned bystander Shannon Bishop. Source: Supplied

The dog appears to aggressively jump and try to bite the horse repeatedly as it runs in circles and kicks its legs to avoid the attack.

At the end of the 47-second clip, the horse’s owner and rider, Ian, is finally able to grab the dog by its collar, bringing the incident to a halt.

Ms Bishop said it felt like the attack went on for “ages” and that the pitbull “was intent on attacking the horse”.

“It was awful to see,” she said, claiming that the dog’s two male owners left “without any regard for what just happened”.

“I think they may have exchanged angry words with the [horse] rider. They walked off,” Ms Bishop said, adding that she followed the men to their car and took down their registration.

“I checked the rider and horse were ok and told him I had evidence if needed. He was shook up.”

Horse rider recalls pitbull attack

Ian told Yahoo News Australia he was taking his horse Lunar for a walk around the park on Saturday when the dog “locked on” to her and “wouldn’t be deterred”.

He said the attack went on for several minutes before Ms Bishop’s recording started.

Lunar kicked the dog away as one of its owners tried to recall the pitbull but “it obviously wasn’t working”, Ian said.

The rider said he got off the panicked horse and stepped in between her and the dog but it continued to lunge at Lunar's belly.

“She kicked it in the head. I’m amazed the dog didn’t drop dead on the spot to be honest,” he said.

Ian said that when he approached the pitbull’s owners and asked for their information, they refused, scooped up their pet and ran away.

Ian and his horse Lunar, who was attacked by a pitbull on Saturday.
Lunar was shaken up after the pitbull attack but is doing well now, Ian said on Sunday. Source: Supplied

He has since reported the incident to management at the Centennial Parkland's Equestrian Centre, who will forward it on the Centennial Park Rangers. Yahoo News Australia has contacted Centennial Parklands for comment.

The attack is the second incident involving a horse and dog this week, Ian said, urging people to “keep their damn dogs on leads”.

Dogs are allowed off leash in dedicated areas of Centennial Park, but they must be on a leash on all roads and shared footpaths.

Footage of dog attack sparks debate

Ms Bishop’s footage of the attack has ignited a debate on Facebook.

While some people blamed the breed of dog, others said the incident was clearly the owners’ fault for walking the pitbull off-leash.

“The dog is lucky to be alive. One swift kick and it would have been lights out forever. Dumb dog and even dumber owners,” one man said.

“Omg so scary, lucky someone wasn't kicked by the horse. Hopefully this was reported, how irresponsible,” a woman agreed.

“This is disgusting having dogs off lead and then not being able to control them. That poor horse,” another woman wrote.

“I walk that park with three dogs and have passed horses many times. My dogs get scared and go into defence mode too,” a fourth person chimed in.

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