Grandfather left in agony after dogs hit him in park

Roger Bathard's back was injured by two big dogs and wants to warn others. Pictured with his dog Evie. Photo by Derek Martin Photography
Roger Bathard's back was injured by two big dogs and wants to warn others. Pictured with his dog Evie. Photo by Derek Martin Photography

A grandfather has been left in agony for weeks after a pair of large dogs ploughed into him.

Roger Bathard, from Ringmer Road, Worthing, was walking his seven-year-old West Highland Terrier Evie in Tarring Park five weeks ago when he saw two big Alsatian dogs running around.

Suddenly, the dogs hit him in his side, causing the 75-year-old’s back problems to flare up. He said: “It really knocked me about; I’m not joking – it has really messed me up.”

The day after the incident, the retired engineer and photographer was taken to A&E by his granddaughter Yasmine Taylor, where he was put on morphine-based tablets. For the last five weeks, the keen swimmer has found it difficult to leave the house, using furniture to prop himself up as he walked.

Twenty years ago, an accident left him with spinal and nerve problems. He had a laminectomy, where a back vertebra was removed to take pressure off his nerves, followed by another procedure eight years ago.

Within the last year, he had two spinal decompressions to relieve his chronic pain – but since the incident it has come back. Speaking on Thursday, Mr Bathard said: “What happens usually is you get pains in your legs, burning skin which feels too tight on your feet, and spasms of pain which never, ever stop – 24 hours of the day.

“At the moment, it is agony – last night, I couldn’t sleep at all; I didn’t go to bed until 3am this morning.”

The widower has had physiotherapy, but he cannot have another back operation due to the scar tissue which has built up. He has recently started swimming again at the Splashpoint Centre in Brighton Road and hoped his health would improve.

Mr Bathard said the dogs’ owner showed concern at the time – but he added he was not responsible with his pets.

He said: “If I saw him again, I would say please be careful when you are letting your dogs off their leash.

“They have done me a serious injury. I would look him straight in the face and say: ‘You don’t realise what your dogs have done to my life these last five or so weeks.

“It doesn’t matter how big or small; you have to take responsibility for your dogs.”

Mr Bathard said he reported the incident to the dog warden. A spokesman for Worthing Borough Council, which funds the service, said it did not have a record of the incident but that its wardens do investigate dog-related complaints.