Northumberland man says ‘spear-like stick’ killed pet springer spaniel on walk in Bedlington park

A family’s “lovable” pet dog died after suffering a fatal injury to its eye while out for a walk in the park.

Gary Percy was walking seven-year-old Reign in Bedlington’s Gallagher Park when the springer spaniel was stabbed in the eye with a stick on March 9.

Mr. Percy said Reign had run ahead and he heard him “screaming out and shaking his head”, before finding he had been injured by a spear-like stick protruding from the ground.

He added: “He had his back to me and I didn’t realize but the stick had gone into his eye. The vet later told me it had gone into his brain.

“He had a four inch stick in his eye, there was blood pouring out. I picked him up to carry him and managed to get to the road and got some help to get him to the vet, but he had died when I got him there.

“I can still hear him screaming out. They’re my family. Reign was a beautiful English springer spaniel, he was so friendly and lovable.”

Mr Percy has walked his dogs in the woods for decades but claimed the area had become “extremely hazardous” after work began to clear trees felled by Storm Arwen that hit in November, 2021.

Mr. Percy believed the debris had not been cleared away properly and was left in a dangerous condition.

He said: “I do believe Reign would still be here if the area had been left in an acceptable condition but unfortunately it wasn’t, making the area extremely hazardous and very unsafe.

“There are spears coming out of the ground and there are trees just waiting to fall. Everything has just been left all over, it is a disgrace.”

The issue was raised by Councilor Christine Taylor, at a recent meeting of Northumberland County Council, who asked cabinet member Cllr John Riddle what was being done to prevent a similar incident.

She said: “It was a dog this time, and that is bad enough. A dog owner and a dog lover as many of us are.

“However, it could have been a child or an elderly person, because that path is very well-used.”

Further checks

Describing himself as a “dog lover”, Cllr Riddle responded: “The council immediately got in contact to investigate the area of ​​woodland which was damaged extensively during Arwen. It was cleared by forestry contractors and it was considered that the contractors had left the area in an acceptable condition.

“Our highest priority is to ensure public safety at the park. This was a freak accident and it is not considered that any further actions would be proportionate to the risk posed at this and other sites in Northumberland.

“I’m sorry that was the response, but we can’t envisage every possible accident. We just have to do the best we can to meet the standards that are expected.”

The council has confirmed it will carry out further inspections to ensure the area is safe.

A spokesperson said: “Our sincere condolences go out to Mr and Mrs Percy at this sad time. We realize this is a very upsetting incident and have been in contact with Mr and Mrs Percy directly to investigate.

“This is an unfortunate accident which occurred in an area of ​​woodland at the park and further checks will be undertaken to ensure public safety.”


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