Unpleasant experience with big Bella

Greg de Bruyn, Somerset West

This is a call-out to the owner of Bella the Rottweiler, who was walking her in Radloff Park at about 8.30am, on Saturday May 2.

You may recall me, walking briskly past your little group of dogs and owners near the pump-house with a schnauzer and a very muddy West Highland Terrier.

Your dog followed the Westie, Holly, for some distance, sniffing her closely and largely ignoring your calls for her to come back (which is why I know her name).

She seemed friendly enough, if a bit bothersome, but that’s not really unusual at the dog-walk.

When I got to my car in the parking area, Bella was still following us, and when I picked Holly up to put her in the car, Bella lunged at us and snatched Holly out of my hands.

It was obvious that she wasn’t playing, so I wrestled her back and chased your dog away.

I’m not really afraid of dogs, so this wasn’t a big deal for me, but if it had been my wife instead of me, I’m sure Holly would be dead.

I don’t think you saw any of this, but you must have heard Holly’s screams and howls.

She was a cowering wreck and I had to coax her out from under a car.

I had other urgent issues to attend to and I was anxious to get Holly checked out, so I didn’t have the appetite for a fight right then.

Even now, I don’t want a confrontation, but I do want you to know that Bella is not fit to roam free at the Radloff Park dog walking area.

This is a special place, unlike any other I know of in the area, and vicious or unstable dogs will ruin it for everybody.

I hope you’re a dog lover and will take appropriate steps in future, but I’ll be much less pleasant if I ever see Bella without a leash or a muzzle again.

I have forwarded your letter to the chairman of the Friends of Radloff Park (FORP) committee, Christopher Kirkman, for possible comment, which shall be published upon receipt.

Additionally, I would like to add that on Friday May 1, when I went for a walk in my neighbourhood, there were a great many people and dogs out on an early morning walk, given the green light to walk between 6am and 9am, and everyone was very excited.

This included some of the dogs, who were more boisterous that usual, given the long period of confinement.

It is wise to anticipate some canine interactions that may turn from initially friendly to fierce, and rather take a proactive approach, and make sure that no incidents occur that could have been avoided.

Other than that, what a joy to be out on foot again, and smile (conveyed with crinkly eyes) and a wave to say “Hello!” – Ed