Rescue dog savaged by German Shepherd in 'traumatic' attack in Skerne Park, Darlington

27.03.23 Sasha Darlington dog Credit: Asia Marszalec
Rescue dog Sasha suffered multiple injuries after an attack by an unleashed German Shepherd on a walk in the park. Credit: Asia Marszalec

The devastated owner of a Polish rescue dog has described an unleashed German Shepherd attacking her family pet as "traumatic."

Joanna Marszalec fears the injured four-year-old dog, Sasha, could still die from her wounds and is fundraising to pay vet fees of up to £8,000.

Ms Marszalec, 54, who is known as Asia, never dreamed her routine daily dog walk in a Darlington park was about to turn into a nightmare.

The stepmother-of-two said it was a "beautiful day" on the morning of Friday 17 March but things took a turn for the worse at about 11:30am as she crossed the road from South Park to Skerne Park with her small cross-breed dog.

Ms Marszalec said: "Every part of our life has changed because of this. I couldn't believe what happened next."

Asia Marszalec with family dog, Sasha, and step-daughters Naomi (left) and Gabi (right). Credit: Asia Marszalec

She added: "Dogs are not permitted to roam freely in South Park and must remain on a lead but in Skerne Park there is no such rule."

Consequently, when Ms Marszalec entered Skerne Park with Sasha still on its lead, a much larger German Shepherd ran freely towards the family pet and began to attack it.

Ms Marszalec said she called out to its owner and shouted: "Take your dog! Take your dog!"

Neither owner knew what to do so they called the police and Ms Marszalec said she told officers "this dog is going to kill my dog."

Sasha is facing a long recovery following the attack in Darlington. Credit: Asia Marszalec

Sasha was taken to nearby Vets4Pets and the owner of the German Shepherd paid £900 for the emergency appointment, said Ms Marszalec.

The German Shepherd was destroyed as a consequence of the attack.

Ms Marszalec said: "The vets couldn't give us an answer if she would survive. Now we are scared about anaphylactic shocks because of her injuries. She was lying there crying.

"Humans can say if in pain; dogs cannot.

"Only now, almost two weeks later, has she wagged her tail for the first time. I started to cry because I knew then she was starting to feel a little better."

Ms Marszalec said Sasha, a rescue dog from Poland, is like one of the family. Credit: Asia Marszalec

Since the attack, Sasha has been going for walks in a specially adapted pram and she faces a lengthy recovery.

Ms Marszalec said: "It's still in my head that with these wounds she can die."

She added: "Everyone loves Sasha. Pure love she is. An absolutely amazing dog. Very friendly. She loves hugs and cuddles. She is incredible.

Since the life-changing dog attack, Sasha has to be walked in a specially adapted doggy pram. Credit: Asia Marszalec

"We treat her like our daughter. She is part of our family."

Sasha was rescued from the streets of Poland by Ms Marszalec's friend, Anna, who has around 30 dogs in a rescue shelter in a town called Kundelowisko.

Ms Marszalec has a warning message for other dog owners.

She said: "People are starting to be less responsible. People are taking on dangerous dogs. If you know your dog is dangerous, it has to be muzzled or on a lead."

"If the dog that attacked Sasha had been muzzled then this would never have happened."

Durham Constabulary said: "Police were called shortly after 11am on Friday (17 March) after a dog was attacked by another dog on Grange Road in Darlington. An investigation was launched and is now complete. Both parties agreed to a community resolution, which resulted in the euthanisation of the offending animal."

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