A man has been injured after a dog owner set his Staffordshire Bull Terrier on him in an unprovoked racially-motivated attack.
The victim – a man in his 30s – sustained injuries to his head, shoulder and ankle after being assaulted by the man and bitten by the dog in a terrifying ordeal on Doncaster’s Town Fields.
Police are appealing for witnesses and reviewing CCTV footage following the attack which happened as the victim was walking through Town Fields towards Thorne Road at about 5pm on Tuesday.
Officers say they believe the attack was racially aggravated.
PC Sarah Forsythe, the investigating officer, said: “This appears to be an unprovoked attack which we believe may have been racially aggravated and we are treating it as such.
“Thankfully, the victim was not seriously injured in this incident and a full investigation is now under way to find the man responsible.
“We will be reviewing CCTV footage and I would appeal to anyone who was in the area at the time and saw anything suspicious to please contact us.
“The offender is described as white, of slim build and aged in his late 30s.
“He was wearing dark grey jeans and a blue body warmer with a light blue top underneath.”
The attack happened after the victim was approached by a man with a black dog, believed to be a Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
The man made a comment towards the victim and then the dog bit him and the man assaulted him.
The incident comes just weeks before new guidelines come into force in courts across the country meaning owners could be deemed to have ‘high culpability’ if a dog is used as a weapon.
Owners of dogs who kill or attack people will face harsher sentences from July if the animals have been trained to be aggressive, under new the guidelines for judges.
If the dog is used as a weapon, has been trained to be aggressive or is a banned species will be factors used to assess blameworthiness in cases where a victim is injured or killed. The maximum sentences for allowing a dog to attack someone have also been substantially increased.
Dog owners face up to 14 years, from two years, for a fatal dog attack and up to five years, from two years, if a dog causes injury to another person.
The changes come after it was revealed the number of people taken to hospital after dog attacks has risen by 76 per cent in the past decade.
South Yorkshire Police revealed 191 dangerous and illegal dogs have been destroyed on their orders between 2012 and 2014 alone.