Ottery residents 'intimidated' by traveller's dogs

EXTREME concerns over a caravan dweller and his two dogs prolonged stay on Ottery s outskirts are being monitored after resident raised fears over the animals.

EXTREME" concerns over a caravan dweller and his two dogs' prolonged stay on Ottery's outskirts are being "monitored" after resident raised fears over the animals.

A cyclist spoke this week spoke of how he was chased by a Rottweiler after it broke free from a piece of public land to which it was chained at Salton Corner- the second time it has done so.

Devon County Council's (DCC) gypsy liaison officer was due to visit the site as the Herald went to press yesterday- but the authority said it was not previously aware of any public concerns over the two dogs on the land.

A DCC spokesman said county councillor Roger Giles had been the only person to raise the issue thus far.

Cllr Giles said several residents have voiced "extreme concerns" to him.

He said: "One parent said kids are afraid to go past there on their way to school. People who usually walk, cycle and run along there don't any more in fear of the dogs. They are intimidated."

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"The situation has deteriorated, a dog has broken free on two occasions, and there's a lot of rubbish, it's an eye-sore. It's intolerable."

A 50-year-old Ottery father of three, who did not wish to be named, spoke of his terror when he was chased by a Rottweiler as he cycled to work last week.

He said: " Suddenly it bounded across the road towards me, barking.

"I thought to myself here we go-my leg is going to be a nice joint of meat for him, but the adrenaline kicked in and I kept on cycling. It chased me up the road. I shouted to it and it eventually went back. I carried on, thinking how lucky I was.

"I cycle up there every day to go to work and the dogs are always near the edge of the grass, barking when I pass. It is very intimidating. Now I take a detour.

"Rubbish has been dumped either side of the caravan. It's beginning to look unsightly.

"The King's School uses the nearby playing field. What if the dogs get loose while children are playing there? They are big animals and would take some stopping."

Police were called when the Rottweiler broke free in April, chasing another cyclist near Strawberry Lane.

In light of the concerns, the DCC spokesman said: "While we are aware that the gentleman has dogs, we weren't aware that they were causing such local concern. We are monitoring the situation and will continue to do so, and will take appropriate action if considered necessary. If people have further concerns, please contact us."

DCC's gypsy liaison officer can be contacted on 07967 397618.

The Herald has attempted to approach the caravan owner but he has been unavailable for comment.