A devastated couple have issued a warning after their beloved pet died following a vicious attack by two large dogs at a York nature reserve.
Millie died on a vets’ operating table after she was mauled on Clifton Backies by the out-of-control animals.
The “very friendly” cocker spaniel-shitzu cross belonged to Nigel Marshall and his partner Sabine Beulke, who live near Water Lane. Now they are urging other owners to be vigilant when walking their pets in the area.
“I’m angry, but I’m also devastated for our dog,” Sabine said.
“She was nine years old. She was very well and really lively, and she would have had another five years at least of a happy life.
“And this person by their negligence has taken that away from this dog and from us.
“I would like them to know what they’ve done to us how much it hurts.”
Nigel was walking Millie on a large field near Wigginton Road on Clifton Backies on Sunday at about 5pm when it happened.
He told YorkMix: “I was probably about halfway down it, and these two large black dogs came out of nowhere.
“I had my headphones on so I didn’t hear them till they were on me, and with it being dark I didn’t see them.”
They were attacking Millie in an instant: “It was a bit like watching a nature film for real.”
Nigel said the pair of dogs knocked Millie over and were biting her. “She had several bites and flesh wounds. We thought that was what it was. But she had in serious internal injuries, which we discovered later.
“Millie’s the size of a small spaniel. These things were something like a Doberman – that sort of size.”
He said their owner took a while to arrive, and then joined with Nigel trying to get them to let go of Millie. Once the dogs were called off, the owner quickly disappeared.
Nigel carried his injured dog across two fields to where Sabine had brought the car – and they rushed her to Minster Vets on Salisbury Road.
“They did everything they could, but when they investigated she was so broken up inside they said there really is no hope,” he said.
Millie died during surgery. “We were just devastated.”
The couple have reported the incident to police, who said there was little they could do. “A dog-on-dog attack isn’t classed as a crime, it’s only classed as an incident,” Nigel said.
They went out on Monday morning and put posters up around the Clifton Backies to warn other dog owners about the danger.
What’s their message? “Just be careful and be on the lookout for these two large black dogs,” Nigel said.
“They’re seriously out of control. If he wants to walk them, he must walk them on a lead all the time.”
Sabine added: “We’re just hoping that other dog owners don’t have to go through this.”
She also hopes that someone will realise who the person responsible is – and pass that information on to police, quoting reference NYP-19112023-0413.
“It’s not a criminal offence, but I’d just like them to maybe feel a bit of a pain or loss,” she said.