One day after pit bull owner Peter Christopher Rock of Monroe Road, Haggatt Hall, St Michael was released on $65,000 bail in connection with the unlawful death of 74-year-old Verona Gibson who was mauled by his dogs on January 28, a victim of a different dog attack is sharing his harrowing experience.
Sixty-five-year-old Lloyd Springer of Ruby Park, St Philip survived the vicious attack by two Akitas on the morning of Wednesday May 24, but not without serious physical and emotional scars and a massive medical bill, which continues to rise.
Springer was on his way to train for the Run Barbados half marathon when the animals, thirsty for blood, launched their attack on him at Newcastle in St John.
“I would normally park my car at the bottom of the hills in St John, walk down the hills and run up. The incident occurred around 6:50 a.m. I walked down to the fishing area and drank some water and I was running up as fast as I could. All of a sudden, like in the middle of the hill, I glanced to my right and saw two dogs right on me. They knocked me to the ground and I was more or less fighting for my life,” he told Barbados TODAY.
“The dogs were just biting at my foot, and I was kicking and screaming [and] there was a neighbour who was in her patio screaming as well, but to no avail.”
Throughout the ordeal, Springer said, his life flashed before his eyes and he thought of Gibson, who just four months earlier, had lost her life to a pack of dogs.
Unable to fight off the savagerous attack, he had all but resigned himself to the same fate when two people came by in a vehicle and “saved me from further injury, and perhaps death.
“I was thinking about using the foot initially, about death, especially with the woman who was killed by a pack of dogs in January this year; so that really flashed cross my mind. It was traumatic and terrifying. Apart from the physical pain and having to relive that, it’s like it’s happening again,” he explained.
“I could not help myself, I could not get the dogs off of me, but they managed to chase the dogs off.
“I was trembling and I couldn’t put any weight on the foot. It was bleeding profusely. The passengers in the vehicle wrapped it in a t-shirt and I was then sitting in the back of the vehicle, but when I tried to put weight on the foot I was going to the ground.”
Springer told Barbados TODAY while he might have escaped death, his nightmares are far from over.
His wife suffered a stroke back in 2011 and three years later he retired from work in order to dedicate his time to assisting her.
With nary an income, he now has to meet medical bills that continue to increase as a result of his injuries.
“I sustained multiple injuries and in terms of medical issues that are ongoing. There is a nurse that comes to my home. Initially it was everyday but the foot is healing now. Thank God I’m not diabetic.
“The medical cost, right now it may be premature to determine that, but I have visited the doctor . . . I couldn’t be walking, I had to have the foot elevated and seeing it is my right foot I couldn’t be driving or putting any pressure.
“Not being able to drive myself I had to be driven. In terms of doing duties, chores, it would be very uncomfortable. Having to take a bath without getting the foot wet and thinking about how I would be helping others and now I had to be helped.
“I was angry and frustrated because I was not able to finish my run that morning. And then not being able to train for a number of weeks my health suffered a setback. I used to go to the sea every day, I haven’t been to the sea since that morning.”
Springer plans to resume training in two weeks, but he is fearful he might not feel comfortable taking to the road again.
“I was told that there are persons who would have stopped exercising because of the woman being killed; people walking with umbrellas trying to protect themselves, but you can’t run with an umbrella,” he said.
The attack on Gibson in January had led to public outcry, with many calling for a ban of certain breeds of dogs such as Akitas and pit bulls – the latter has developed a bad reputation, and while figures are not available here on the number of deaths from dog attacks, between 2005 and 2015 pit bulls were responsible for 64 per cent of all canine deaths in the United States.
Springer supports calls for tighter legislation to control dangerous dogs “because Barbados needs to be safer.
“I won’t want anyone else to experience what I went through,” he said.
The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention does not list Akitas among the most likely to attack humans, but says their sheer size and power means that whenever they attack, there are likely to cause serious injury.