Teenagers praised after Fishbourne underpass dog attack

Charlie Oldfield (right) Dylan Tillyard (left) PICTURE BY KATE SHEMILT
Charlie Oldfield (right) Dylan Tillyard (left) PICTURE BY KATE SHEMILT

TWO teenage boys have been praised for their ‘amazing’ actions to save a mother and child during a dog attack.

Charlie Oldfield and Dylan Tillyard, both aged 14, rushed to help when they saw an American bulldog attacking a three-year-old girl and her mother.

The boys witnessed the attack in the Fishbourne underpass as they made their way home to Bosham from Bishop Luffa school, where they are in Year 9.

“The baby started crying as the dog started sniffing her,” said Dylan this week.

“It wasn’t angry at this time, it was a normal dog.”

He said the mother picked up her daughter and asked for help.

The pair urged the dog away, but it immediately returned.

“It came back and then she asked us to go up and try to get it away. It started jumping up at them,” said Dylan. “I don’t know what happened first, the baby or the mum, but I remember seeing the mum getting bitten on her arm.”

Charlie said he grabbed the dog by its hind legs and tried to pull it away, while his friend Dylan was kicking it.

“What was so scary was it wasn’t focused on anyone else but the child,” he said.

“It just wanted to get the little girl,” Dylan said.

The animal did not bark throughout the attack and ignored attempts to deter it, said the pair.

As reported last week, Andrew Stemp, along with another woman, Bhebie Voller, helped protect the pair. The boys also spoke of a woman who appeared, managed to get a lead on the dog and remove it from the scene.

The mother and child, who were both bitten several times, were rushed to hospital after the attack.

Charlie told the Observer he tried to call 999 but his hands were shaking and he found it hard to talk.

“The police said afterwards it looked like the dog was completely possessed,” he said. “It was just crazy.”

Deputy head teacher at Bishop Luffa Colin Lankester said: “We’re immensely proud of them and I think they just reacted spontaneously and didn’t give a thought to it really. It’s amazing.”

Following the attack, the dog was destroyed. Kirsty Borthwick, 42, from Albert Road, Fishbourne, has been charged with allowing a dog to be dangerously out of control in a public place in connection with the attack.