Appeal after runner bitten three times in 'chilling' dog attack

Joel Saggers runner attacked Gorleston

Joel Saggers' blood-stained shorts after he was attacked by a dog while out running in Gorleston, and (inset) a puncture wound suffered in the same 'savage; incident. - Credit: Joel Saggers

A runner has appealed for information and shared pictures of his injuries after he was attacked by a dog and bitten three times

Joel Saggers believes the German Shepherd-type dog would have "gone for anything moving" while he said its owner failed to intervene and showed no compassion or concern.

Joel Saggers Gorleston runner bitten by dog and highlighting the issue

Joel Saggers running the Cambridge half marathon. He wants dog bite victims to be taken seriously and for support and help to be available as well as appropriate action taken against irresponsible owners. - Credit: Joel Saggers

Mr Saggers, 42, had been for a long run and was circling home to Gorleston High Street via the riverside at around 11.45am on Sunday (March 20) when the dog "made a beeline" for him.

Having given the animal a wide berth it bit him three times, once on each leg and on his behind, leaving his running shorts spattered with blood.

What was most "chilling" was the bearded owner's lack of reaction "almost as if he wanted to see how far it would go", Mr Saggers said.

"I was panic-stricken," he said. "The whole thing was very odd. It wasn't normal.

Joel Saggers bitten by dog in Gorleston

A puncture wound suffered by Joel Saggers, who was attacked by a dog at Gorleston riverside while running. - Credit: Joel Saggers

"Even if you accept this type of thing can happen from time to time with runners and dogs there was a complete lack of compassion.

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"It does happen when you are running as dogs often interpret it as you wanting to play with them and they jump up.

"This was much more aggressive.

"I had to take action in the end and push its head.

Joel Saggers runner bitten by dog in Gorleston

A runner was left shocked and blood-spattered after he was bitten three times by a dog while running in Gorleston. - Credit: Joel Saggers

"Eventually the owner did grab its neck, although I am not even sure that it had a collar.

"I have been running for four years and this is the third time I have suffered, although this was by far the worst."

Mr Saggers, an accountant at Potter's Leisure Resort in Hopton, who is married with a daughter said an appeal on social media to identify the owner had been widely shared.

He attributed the level of interest to a broader issue with irresponsible dog ownership and dog fouling.

He added: "I can only imagine it is a much more widespread and common issue.

Appeal after runner bitten by dog in Gorleston

Joel Saggers suffered bruising to the skin and puncture wounds after he was attacked by a dog running off the lead in Gorleston. - Credit: Joel Saggers

"It could have been a child. We taught our daughter to ride her bike down there and this dog looked like it would have been interested in anything that was moving."

As a  result of the attack he had suffered bruising and bleeding where the animal's teeth had punctured his skin.

The incident has been reported to the police.  

Officers are investigating and appealing for any witnesses or anyone with information to contact Norfolk Police on 101 quoting investigation ref 36/20941/22.


Riverside Road Gorleston where Joel Saggers was attacked by a dog

Joel Saggers was running between the flood walls in Gorleston when he was attacked by a dog. - Credit: Google maps

What the law says

It is illegal for a dog to be "out of control" anywhere, whether it be in a public place or on private property including inside your home and others' homes and gardens.

A dog is considered dangerously out of control if it Injures someone or makes someone worried that it might injure them.

If a dog does injure someone it may be seized by the police and the owner could face fines, compensation costs, be sent to prison for up to five years, or banned from having dogs.

The dog may also be put down.  

It is an offence if a dog attacks an assistance dog and a court can decide a dog is "out of control" if it attacks another pet dog.

A court could also prosecute if a person believed they would have been injured if they tried to stop a dog attacking their animal.

If a dog is attacked by another dog, the incident should still be reported to the police.

A farmer is allowed to kill a dog if it is worrying  livestock.