A FATHER has hit out at police indifference after his dog was savaged by an out-of-control Great Dane.

Clifford Norton, 40, was taking his pet Labrador, Lucy, for her usual morning walk on Bell Common in Epping when the giant dog crossed their path.

Mr Norton, who lives in Bury Road nearby with his wife and 11-year-old son, said: “It came out of nowhere and attacked my dog, and when I say attack, I mean attack.

“It was trying to kill my dog and had it by the throat.

“I had to kick it as hard as I could and it still did not come off. I punched it in the head and then it came after me.

“It properly went for me and I had to fend it off using the leash like a whip.

“The owner strolled up with a couple of smaller dogs. I was saying was ‘put your dog on a lead’, but he just swore at me.

“I rushed Lucy home and then took her to the vets. She had tooth marks in her throat. She has had to have an operation because of the wounds and the vet’s bills have come to £500 so far.”

Mr Norton reported the incident to the police, who at first told him that because he had not been bitten they were powerless to act.

He has also repeatedly tried to contact Epping Forest District Council’s dog warden, who has failed to return his calls.

“My biggest concern is that this is a massive dog and there are a lot of old people who walk their pets on that common," said Mr Norton.

“If it had been one of them this animal turned on it could have been much more serious.

“This dog should not be allowed to go unleashed on the common.”

Essex Police, when contacted by the Guardian blamed a break-down in communication and said that they would be investigating.

A spokeswoman added: “Responsible dog owners should be able to enjoy a walk with their pets without fear that their dogs will be attacked and we are reminding residents in the area that that they should remain in proper control of their animals at all times.

“On this occasion the victim’s owner was not able to identify the other dog’s owner and has never seen the dog before.

“The dog owner is described as white, in his mid to late 40s, with a bald head and was wearing a track suit.

“If anyone witnessed the incident they are urged to contact Loughton CID on 101.

“Officers believe that the dog owner is local to the Epping Forest District.

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