Petition launched for new law after Shih Tzu Rupert loses eye in dog attack on Ramsgate beach

Rupert is now recovering

A devastating attack where a Ramsgate nan’s  dog lost his eye has prompted her to launch a petition demanding pet owners are made responsible for their animal’s actions.

Rebecca Chapman, from Ramsgate, says she is appalled that her one year old Shih Tzu Rupert can be left with such a horrific injury while the owner of the other dog – which she says turned on Rupert and clamped his face in its jaws – can walk away with no consequences.

The nan-of-three, from Ramsgate, took Rupert for his walk on Ramsgate beach last Thursday (September 9) and says she was about to scoop Rupert into her arms after spotting the  Staffie dog when the owner said his pet was fine with other dogs.

The 47-year-old said: “The dog pinned Rupert on the floor, locked his jaw on him and his eye went. I picked Rupert up and I was screaming and shouting.”

Rebecca says the other owner would not give his details and said the attack happened because Rupert was being a nuisance – something Rebecca denies.

Rupert was taken to Thanet Vets but sadly his eye could not be saved.

Rebecca says her family tracked down the other owner but there has been no resolution.

She said: “My petition is about making owners accountable. It is not aimed at a single type of dog because this is about the owners not the dogs.

“Owners have got to take responsibility and should not be able to just walk away from these attacks.

“If he had broken my laptop he would be responsible. It is not fair that dogs are just seen as possessions. This just can’t keep going on.”

Rupert is recovering and Rebecca says she has been able to take him out. However, he has not been eating well and is quite shaky.

She said: “I don’t know if he will need any therapy but he has been a little marvel. Some people said we are lucky but it isn’t lucky because it shouldn’t have happened in the first place.”

Rebecca has reported the incident to Kent Police but it is not clear what action can be taken.

Under the Dangerous Dogs Act  it’s illegal for a dog to be ‘out of control’ or to bite or attack someone. The legislation also makes it an offence if a person is worried or afraid  that a dog may bite them. It does not, however, cover attacks on other animals.

Rebecca said: “Our dogs are not possessions, they are family members. If this had been a child, how different the outcome could have been.

“My Rupert now has to live his whole life with one eye while this owner and his dog can walk around as if nothing has happened.”

A gofundme has also been set up for Rupert which Rebecca says she hopes will mean she can put money aside for use by other pet owners who may find themselves in the same position.

A Kent Police spokesperson said: “Kent Police was contacted on Thursday 9 September and it was reported that, shortly after 8.30am that morning, a dog had bitten another dog near Marina Road, Ramsgate.

“Officers have carried out enquiries into the circumstances and no criminal offences have been identified.”

Find the petition here

Find the gofundmepage here


  1. How terrible, “ What happens if my dog is attacked by another dog? … It is an offence if your dog attacks an assistance dog but attacks on other animals including pet dogs are not. However, a court could prosecute if a person believes they would have been injured if they tried to stop a dog attacking their animal.” I would pursue the other dog owner and take it to court.

  2. sadly it will be an adult or a child next – and i expect people to say – its not the dogs fault blah blah blah

  3. You could try claiming the costs of vet treatment in a Small Claims Court, as clearly the costs were as a result of someone’s dog out of control, so its not your fault. Go online and see how to do this, its fairly easy, and although some legal costs are involved, you can claim it back. I have done this 4 times over the years, and have a 100% success rate!

    • You would (at the very least) need to prove that the injuries sustained were caused by the other dog. Was a video taken? Photographs? Independent witnesses?

      • No not really Phyllis, the judge sits alone, and can make his or her own mind up what caused the costs, using the “if the circumstantial evidence is detailed, compelling, and beyond reasonable doubt” it should pass the “Balance of Probability” test! Or if you like, common sense, but a photo would be helpful.

  4. So sorry to hear of yet another owner not taking responsibility for their actions.Every companion animal etc owner, should be made to take out not only insurance for their own vet costs but also to cover 3rd party costs in case the worst happens, as it is not an uncommon event in Thanet, just as microchipping dogs is now law, anyone who loves and cares will get any of their animals microchipped! All too often people who take no responsibility for theirs just expect other animal lovers to pay via go fund me pages.As I have been unable to live at home following an “escape of water” as LV insurance for home, contents etc I HAVE BEEN FORCED TO PAY SOME £10k plus on kennel fees as well as alternative accommodation running into many £k LV REFUSE TO PAY ME despite FOS taking over 4 years to decide, they will not enforce, & AS A RESULT COMPENSATION FOR IRA BOMB INJURIES etc has gone and SUBFLOOR OF WETROOM NEEDS REPLACEMENT, WC left unconnected, they removed furniture NOW DEMAND £25k storage yet I still have on-going expenses I just have to meet. NHS RETIREE 3/2020 as well! I am so amazed that having had same insurer for decades & only being out for 1 hr they failed to respond under home emergency cover so let others be aware that despite insurance cover it often fails to cover what it is expected too, I too am considering the small claims court for breach of contract as 6 yr legal limit but the legal insurance policy will not fund to sue themselves, catch 22.

  5. Another attack from what was probably an abused dog who belonged to a thanet chav. Let’s face it thanet is full of them. The law should be changed so that these owners have to pay for vet bills and have their abused dogs removed from them. Thanet is a unsafe place to walk dogs because of the type of people that live there. Hope the poor pooch gets over this.

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