A dog owner was left bloodied and concussed after he was attacked while trying to stop an intruder stealing his puppy from his back garden.
Mark Hills, 53, suffered deep wounds to his face during the assault at his home near the Gorrell Tank in Whitstable.
He had been watching TV when a man tried to snatch his nine-month-old Cavalier King Charles spaniel, Billy.
It was about 10pm and the back door was propped open while Billy was outside.
“I went out to look for him and he wasn’t there,” said Mr Hills, who works at a builders’ merchants in Faversham. “I just thought he was playing around and hiding.”
But when Mr Hills went back out five minutes later he encountered a stranger dragging his beloved dog away from the house.
“There was some bloke walking down the garden path holding him by the scruff of the neck,” he said. “When dogs are held like that they can’t escape or bark or anything – they’re helpless.
“Billy’s still only tiny.
“I chased the man down the garden path, and he dropped Billy, who scurried off somewhere.
“As I got out the garden gate, which backs onto an alley, the man punched me – with his fist, or with something hard he was holding.”
Mr Hills was taken to hospital, where he was treated for his injuries and diagnosed with concussion.
He described his attacker as a white man in his late 30s or early 40s and about 5ft 5ins tall. He was wearing dark jeans and a dark, three-quarter-length jacket.
“It was a bit of a shock,” he said. “It’s meant to be a very quiet area. This kind of thing doesn’t usually happen.
“I’m very thankful to our neighbours – they were all out in their pyjamas, looking for the man and making sure I was all right.
“The police turned up pretty sharpish – they were there within about five minutes, but couldn’t find the man.
“I’m not too concerned for myself, but I am for other people at the moment. The houses along our road all have little dogs.”
Now, Mr Hills is warning other dog owners to keep a careful watch over their pets.
“Keep a closer eye on your dogs,” he said. “A lot of dogs are being stolen at the moment – possibly for fighting, or maybe for breeding.
“Billy was gifted to us, but as he’s purebred he’s worth about £1,500.
“If I hadn’t gone out at that time, I might not have seen him ever again. It was just pure luck.”
Police confirmed they are investigating the incident, which took place on Monday, November 5.
A spokesman said: “Enquiries into the report remain ongoing and officers would like to hear from any witnesses.”
Anyone with information should call police on 01843 222289, quoting reference 05-1943.
Billy the King Charles Spaniel. Picture: Chris Davey… (5327247)