Shocked locals who witnessed an XL Bully-type dog savage two men before it was shot dead by police said the ‘huge’ animal was stabbed by its own owner several times – weeks after it was reportedly rescued.
The dog, who locals said was called Zeus, maimed a man in the Loudonhill Avenue area of Hamilton, Lanarkshire before savaging a second victim in nearby Tinto View at around 5pm on Tuesday.
Police were called to the scene and the beast is then said to have attempted to sink its teeth into one of the officers attending. Armed response cops then shot the animal dead after a Taser failed to quell the animal’s temper.
One of the victims is in Glasgow‘s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital with ‘life-threatening injuries’. Local media reports suggest that the dog may have been rehomed north of the border from England.
Witnesses said the animal was ‘huge’ and believe that police had been left with no option but to shoot it after it was reportedly stabbed and refused to stop its attack.
Police investigators – including scene of crime officers in white forensics overalls – assess the scene of a savage dog attack in Hamilton, Lanarkshire
The attack, which has left one person with ‘life-threatening’ injuries, is believed to have involved an XL Bully-type dog
Armed response officers were called to the scene at 5pm on Tuesday, and reportedly discharged a Taser before firing at least four shots at the dog, killing it
Police Scotland has referred itself to watchdog the Police Investigation and Review Commissioner over the discharge of a firearm, as is protocol.
Betty Johnston, 76, said: ‘I’ve never seen anything like it in my life. The dog was huge and was running riot, I think the only thing that would’ve stopped it was shooting it because I don’t think anything else would have worked.
‘I’m an animal lover but I think it would have just kept attacking if it hadn’t been stopped.
‘One of the men who were attacked had tried to fight it off but he was struggling to do anything and then the police turned up and it got shot a few times.’
Shopworker Vishnu Dev, 22, said the dog had been in his shop and had been brought to the area a fortnight ago.
He said: ‘The dog used to come in to the shop and jump up on the counter and I was always fine with it.
‘It hadn’t been with the owner long, maybe a few weeks but it must have went mad and attacked for some reason.’
Eyewitness Kevin Pace witnessed the attack from his kitchen window.
He told BBC Scotland: ‘There was a commotion outside, the dog was barking and growling and the two guys were screaming.
‘I think the first guy had been bitten and the other guy was trying to get him off.
‘Eventually they got the dog off him but then the dog turned on his owner and grabbed hold of him and just didn’t let go. It was pretty brutal.’
He added: ‘When the police arrived, they were trying to keep the owner awake because he kept slipping unconscious.
‘He’d lost a lot of blood and had serious injuries. They tasered the dog once but that didn’t work and the armed police turned up and that worked.’
Another resident added: ‘I counted four or five shots being fired towards the dog after it turned to attack one of the police and that’s what killed it.’
Other witness accounts given to the Daily Record suggest that a knife may have been tossed to one of the victims who dealt the dog a number of blows in a bid to make it back off – without success.
Zeeshan Rashid – owner of the local Day Today shop – claimed the dog had been brought into the area just a fortnight ago.
He told the Record: ‘He had been rescued a few weeks ago after he was beaten and abandoned.
‘You could tell he hasn’t been treated well in the past as he was covered in scars. It’s tragic what has happened.’
The scene of the attack on Tuesday night after police cordoned off the scene in Hamilton
Work is underway to determine the breed of the dog, which police have described as a ‘bulldog-type’ animal
Superintendent Steven Espie said: ‘This was a distressing incident for those involved. I would like to reassure the local community that this was a contained incident and there is no further risk to the public.
‘There will be a continued police presence in the area while our enquiries continue.
‘Enquiries are also ongoing to establish the breed of the dog.’
The incident will be referred to the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC), Scotland’s answer to the IOPC police watchdog.
A South Lanarkshire Council spokesman said: ‘We are aware of the incident and will assist the police enquiries in any way we can.’
Earlier this month, the Scottish Government confirmed XL Bully dogs would be banned in Scotland.
First Minister Humza Yousaf had come under fire for not replicating a similar ban in England, with fears the banned breed was flooding up north.
The UK Government had previously warned Holyrood Scotland could become a dumping ground for the dogs.