ONE man and his dog had a nasty surprise when badgers attacked them during an evening walk.
John Harvey, of North Wootton, was walking Dolly near his home when he was charged by one badger while another bit Dolly's tail.
Mr Harvey said: "It was quite scary at the time. It was just after dark. I regularly walk the dog at that time and I see badgers often. Usually they are 10 to 20 yards away and they are passive.
"But this time when we passed a storm drain a badger came out of it and charged straight towards us.
"It charged into me and I put the torch on it and gave it a kick. It ran between my legs.
"Then another badger came from the other side of the road and went for the dog. It bit her tail and she span round and growled at it.
"Both badgers then rocketed off into the hedge.
"It all took place in a few seconds."
Pauline Kidner, founder of wildlife charity Secret World, has been working with badgers for 25 years. She was surprised to hear about the incident.
She said: "I've never heard of badgers coming out and attacking someone.
"Badgers are very shy. If they get the chance to run away they will. A badger would never fight a dog unless it had no choice.
"The only thing I can think of is if it was ill but I can't think of an illness that would make it do that.
"In my opinion this is very, very abnormal behaviour."
Dolly did not need to go to the vet – but she was reluctant to go for a walk for some days afterwards.
Mr Harvey said: "She just kept sitting down in the road and refusing to move. We're used to thinking of them as cuddly passive animals but they're not always.
"I've got no explanation for it. Maybe it's an aggressive group or the area is over-populated.
"My advice would be to take a torch with you. They didn't seem to like having it shone on them."
See letters pages 27 and 28.