LEADING dog experts today called for training for owners who can’t control their pets after a couple were attacked on Pendle Hill.

Rebecca McKenna and Andrew Graham ended up in hospital with bite injuries from what they described as two boxer dogs.

Dog instructor Anthony Holden and award-winning former dog warden Steve Wood said owners needed greater education about the consequences of their dogs’ behaviour.

Miss McKenna, of Station Road, Huncoat, said she feared for her life during the attack and had to take time off work after suffering flashbacks.

The couple said they were out walking their pet Chihuahua, Bobby, when they were set upon by the boxers, who were not on leads.

Miss McKenna, 21, said: “We parked up at the Wellsprings in Clitheroe Road and got about half a mile onto the hill when Andy turned round and saw them racing towards us and shouted to pick Bobby up.

“One started biting my ankles and wouldn’t stop. Andy ran over and they bit him too. They were strong and dragged me until I slipped to the ground.

“I dropped Bobby and they went for him. I could hear him scream. I remember rolling on my side and getting back up, grabbing Bobby and huddling together with Andy, trying to keep calm.

“We turned our backs on the boxers but they carried on biting and dragged me down again.

“I was just screaming to scare them off but they weren’t for stopping. I didn’t want to set Bobby down because I knew he’d be gone in seconds.”

Miss McKenna said a man then arrived and struggled to control the animals.

Mr Holden, who runs Alpha Dog Training in Higham, said: “Each case is unique but some dogs can just switch having never shown aggression before.

“I think dogs are better off off their leads but if you haven’t got control of the dog it shouldn’t be off a lead in public places.

“A dog needs to be a dog. The window for training, in most cases, is in its first 20 weeks to do as much socialising as possible.

“We need to train and educate people. If we don’t do that, do we bring dog licences back in?

“If the owners don’t go through training then they can’t keep the dog. That’s maybe something else that could be looked at.”

Miss McKenna said the attack went on for ‘a good three or four minutes’.

She said: “Andy had a bit of an argument with the man but I was too flustered to speak. I just told him to control his dogs, turned my back and ran to the car.

“There was blood all over my legs and rips in my jeans. The adrenaline was pumping and I didn’t feel the pain until we started driving, I was that petrified.”

The couple drove straight to Accrington Victoria Hospital where their wounds were checked and cleaned.

Miss McKenna, who works in telesales in Preston, said she spent three days on crutches because of numerous bites on her left leg and ankle, while Mr Graham’s right leg was badly bitten.

She said the incident had put her off walking and that wearing three jackets had prevented her from further injury.

She been back to hospital three times since the attack, which happened at around 4.40pm on November 23, for check-ups on her wounds.

Miss McKenna said: “I couldn’t sleep I was so upset. I thought that was it, that I would be left for dead. It’s something I’ll never forget. It was terrible.”

Mr Wood, now welfare officer at Hyndburn Stray Dogs In Need, said: “By law it’s quite simple. If it attacks a human it’s clearly dangerous and be taken off the owner.

“I’m a strong believer that everyone should have a qualification to say they can look after a dog. It works in Germany.

“Unfortunately some owners don’t know any better. They’re absolute lunatics and they don’t care about themselves, let alone the dogs.”

PC Anita Whittle from Lancashire Police confirmed an investigation was underway and said she was due to take a statement from the boxer dogs’ owner today.