Heartbroken pensioner speaks about deadly Mastiff park attack

Dog owner Brian Cleghorne with his two Whippets at Clissold Park.

Dog owner Brian Cleghorne with his two Whippets at Clissold Park. - Credit: Archant

A heartbroken pensioner whose dog was fatally mauled by an out-of-control mastiff in a Stoke Newington park has spoken about the trauma of the gruesome attack.

Dog owner Brian Cleghorne with his two Whippets in Clissold Park.

Dog owner Brian Cleghorne with his two Whippets in Clissold Park. - Credit: Archant

Brian Cleghorn’s pet whippet Daisy was left needing nearly £9,000 of emergency veterinary treatment after the unleashed dog pounced in Clissold Park, but died a day later.

The 66-year-old was walking his three dogs near the pond when the large grey-blue mastiff ran towards them and took Daisy, eight, into its jaws – shaking her, ripping her stomach open and only dropping her when its owner approached.

Police are now appealing for information to trace the mastiff’s owner, who left the park with her dog covered in blood after the attack on Wednesday, May 28.

Devastated Mr Cleghorn said it was a horrible shock: “The teeth marks went right through to her lungs. Her ribs were broken. It’s like having a polar bear on your back. It was a big breed of dog – you will never get those dogs off once they lock on.

Brian Cleghorne.

Brian Cleghorne. - Credit: Archant

“It was so quick I can’t remember much. I was screaming ‘Get your dog off’, but she [the owner] was just standing behind me and not doing anything.

“None of my dogs barked at the dog, if she had had her dog on the lead we could have just walked away.

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“I was just numbed afterwards. I was in such shock I couldn’t even walk out of the right gate to go home.”

Mr Cleghorn, who had not insured his pet and had to pay a £8,700 vet’s bill, said: “If I had my dog now, I wouldn’t have minded paying the money, but she was in the vet’s less than 24 hours.

“It was the first time she had been away from me. I think of her laying there away from me, and in some way I blame myself, but I had to take her.”

Other dog owners who use the park have since raised £1,450 towards the cost of the treatment.

Mr Cleghorn said: “My other dogs were moaning and going to different parts of the house. They do grieve.

“My dogs are everything to me. I’ve had motorbikes and cars, but I never get fed up with my dogs. We’ve got a lot to learn from the animals, their senses, they tell you different things. They are always there for you, it would be an empty house without them.”

Investigating officer Pc Matt Stringer said other dog owners were worried following the attack.

“It is all owners’ responsibility to ensure that they keep their dog under control to prevent this type of attack on other animals and potentially people too,” he said.

The mastiff’s owner is described as a white female, about 5ft 7in and aged 35 to 40, with blonde hair tied in a ponytail.

n Anyone with information about the owner or the attack should call police on 020 8721 2031 or, to remain anonymous, contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.