A Ballarat East man is calling for dangerous dogs to be better controlled by their owners, after being viciously attacked while at work.
Stephen Dean, who is a meter reader at Central Highlands Water (CHW), was attending a Humffray Street North property just before 9am on Monday.
Just as the property owner asked him what he was doing, a dog charged at him and immediately dragged the 60-year-old to the ground.
“I was trying to push it away, and it just latched onto my leg and shook. It was like a shark, crunching bones and muscle and everything. It nearly tore my leg off,” Mr Dean said. “I could feel it grinding on my bone.”
There was no collar, no nothing, the owner didn’t have any control over it.Stephen Dean, recounting Monday's vicious dog attack
“We’re supposed to have access to the water meter wherever we go, but with a dog like that coming out… just think, if a young kid walked past, it would have killed them.”
Terrifyingly, this is the second time in as many weeks that Mr Dean was attacked by a dog while reading meters in Ballarat.
If not for the quick thinking of two good Samaritans who dragged the dog believed to be a pit bull off him until police arrived, he said it would have been “all over red rover”.
“The bloody brave blokes that saved me actually jumped from the top of the fence and kicked it until it came off. They saved my life.”
“At the time, all I could think is ‘this isn’t happening’ … I just wanted it off me.”
The incident follows The Courier’s reporting last week about an attack on Snoopy the Jack Russell. It was just one of 137 dog attacks reported to the City of Ballarat last financial year, but council officers believe many more go unreported.
A WorkSafe spokesperson said they were aware of the incident and are now making enquiries. City of Ballarat confirmed the dog was surrendered and destroyed.
Surgeons told Mr Dean he came “pretty close” to losing his leg and has a long road ahead, having had three surgeries at Ballarat Base Hospital in less than 36 hours.
His lower left leg was so mangled that on first inspection, one doctor asked him if he’d been injured by a chainsaw. He also has bite marks on his upper thigh and arm.
After surviving car and motorcycle accidents, Mr Dean said there were no words for how it felt to be truly “close to death” for the first time.
“I can still see its head coming at me,” Mr Dean said. “I was just doing my every day job, and I nearly lost my leg.”
CHW general manager of customer and community Jacqueline O’Neill said the company was working with authorities to investigate, but the “prime concern” was for Mr Dean’s wellbeing.
“We would like to make special mention to the community members who came to the assistance of our colleague,” she said. “Your courage and bravery allowed for our colleague to be removed from the area and we dearly thank you for this.”