Gone But Not Forgotten
- Sep 25, 2003
- Reaction score
GuardianWoman, 80, saves pet dog from wild boar on Dartmoor
An 80-year-old woman fought off three wild boar as they tried to savage her dachshund during a new year walk on Dartmoor. Rosemary Hamilton-Meikle told yesterday how she used her dog's lead to frighten two of the wild pigs away and hit the third on the snout with it.
The incident is the latest in a spate of brushes with wild boar on and around the moor in Devon, which has prompted police to issue warnings about them.
Mrs Hamilton-Meikle was walking her dog, Bosun, at Buckland Monachorum, near Plymouth, on the edge of Dartmoor, when he vanished into gorse bushes. She said: "I heard a terrible screaming noise and I thought he had got into a fight with some other dogs. I rushed into the bushes and found three wild boar with Bosun lying down on the ground in front of them. They must have tossed him and were coming in to attack."
Mrs Hamilton-Meikle, of Plymouth, admitted she had been terrified, but had been determined to save her dog. She swung Bosun's lead around her head, which sent two of the boar scuttling away. But a male boar stood its ground, a metre from the pensioner.
She said: "The dog lead has a heavy metal clip so I swung it again and caught him on the nose. Then I picked up Bosun, turned around and walked out. Fortunately, the boar did not follow. It's the first time I've seen the boar, though I know a man who was chased up a tree by them. I only saw three, but locals say there are up to 15 around Buckland Monachorum."
Another walker who was close by at the time said: "We could hear the pigs grunting. It was evil. They were only 10 yards from a pathway that walkers use. It could easily have been a child that was attacked. There should be warning signs up."
In the past year animal activists have released two lots of wild boar from farms in Devon and many of the animals are still at large. On New Year's Day, the same day as Mrs Hamilton-Meikle's encounter, a man and his two dogs were confronted by the animals on Dartmoor.
Pauline Boon, 36, a taxi driver from Buckland Monachorum, said she had seen wild boar worrying sheep recently. "I was driving past a field near the village when the sheep in it suddenly scattered," she said. "I stopped the taxi and saw a wild boar chasing the sheep - they were terrified."
Jo Barr, spokeswoman for the RSPCA in the south-west, said attacks on people were rare. In the past eight years there had only been two cases in Britain in which a boar made contact with a person, she said. "They are shy creatures and frightened of humans. They are only a danger if they are cornered or if they are protecting young."