Outrage at owners of off-leash dog that attacked horse in Sydney’s Centennial Park


The owner of the horse that was attacked in a Sydney park by an out-of-control American Bulldog has a simple message for its owner.

A 45-second video captured at Centennial Parklands in the CBD on Saturday showed a white dog initially identified as a “pitbull” lunging for a horse in a designated on-leash area of the park.

The horse ran in circles as it attempted to avoid being bitten while several people tried to stop contain the out-of-control animal.

It was reported that the owners of the dog fled the scene without giving information to the owners of the horse.

As news.com.au reported earlier on Tuesday, the owners have since come forward. They have apologised to all involved and been fined $330.

On social media, the owner of the horse has begged others to use the incident as a lesson.

Ian Benson wrote on Facebook: “As the owner of the horse involved in the dog incident on Saturday I just wanted to reach out and say thank you to the members of the public who stepped in to help.”

He went on to urge dog owners to do the right thing.

“Please if you walk your dog in the park, please keep it on a lead and please keep it off the horse track.

“Not only for your safety and the safety of your dog, our safety as riders/horse owners, but the safety of the general public.”

Disturbing footage has captured an unruly off leash dog attacking a horse in front of onlookers at one of Sydney’s busiest parks.

Mr Benson said he was thankful that it happened to an experienced professional, “not one of the young kids and their ponies that frequent the park”.

Earlier, a spokeswoman for Centennial Parklands told news.com.au the owner of the dog “has voluntarily met with Centennial Parklands management today” and “has taken responsibility for the incident and has extended an apology to all involved, including the owners of the horse”.

The dog was identified as an American Bulldog, not a pitbull. The owner of the dog has confirmed it is alive.

The spokeswoman said the dog was in an off-leash area and the owner will face the maximum financial penalty for breaking the park rules — a $330 fine.

“Centennial Parklands continues to encourage responsible dog ownership and safely sharing our spaces through public education including signage and information on our website,” she said.

Earlier, media outlets around the world jumped on the story of the “pitbull attack” in Sydney.

It made headlines in India, New Zealand and the UK as angry viewers voiced their disgust at the footage.

The spokeswoman for the park said one thing is certain – the responsibility for controlling a dog in the park is “squarely on the dog owner”.

“There’s very clear rules about how people need to manage their dogs all over the park land.

“It’s very, very clear about how you need to manage your dog in the park. It’s a shared space.

“You’ve got cars, you’ve got pedestrians, you’ve got horses, you’ve got dogs.

“Rangers carry the brochures and hand them out and there is no reason for people not to know how to manage their dogs.”

The area where the attack happened is a dedicated horse track and is separate to an off-leash area used by hundreds of dogs every day.

There is no fence separating the two areas.

The spokeswoman for Centennial Parklands told news.com.au rangers are able to hand out fines to dog owners for breaches of park rules.

The attack was filmed by Shannon Bishop, a local who uses the park regularly. She told the Daily Mail that she saw the horse rear up on its hind legs and thought “shit, what’s going on here?”.

“Then I saw the dog. I was absolutely shocked at how aggressive the dog was. I could see it trying to snap at the underbelly of the horse. It was also snapping at the legs.”

In the footage, you can hear her say: “F**king hell. Oh my god.”

A witness who posted the video on Facebook wrote: “A pitbull off-lead with two owners unable to control it as it was intent on attacking the horse.

“After the incident the two owners walked off with no apology or details and got into a car,” she wrote.

“All dogs need to be on a lead and owners responsible when their dog attacks others.”

The footage received more than 300 comments from locals shocked the aggressive dog had been off its lead, and more so that nobody was injured by it or the horse.

“So many things that could have gone wrong there – helpers could have been kicked in the head trying to grab the dog. Made me feel sick watching that,” one person wrote.

“I am sick to death of people who have their dogs off lead who have no control over them,” another wrote.

“That poor horse, I hope he was not bitten. I hope the person who owns this dog gets a massive fine.”