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Nurse 'savaged' by enraged giant pig


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Nurse 'savaged' by enraged giant pig


Last updated at 22:00pm on 13th October 2006 commentIconSm.gif

pig131006_228x426.jpgAbove, a wild pig, below, nurse Carolyn Robinson



A nurse has spoken of her terror after she was attacked by a giant pig which charged the horse she was riding and then savaged her after she was thrown to the ground.



Suffering from broken ribs from the fall, Carolyn Robinson feared for her life as the enraged pig hurtled at her.

The ferocious beast, which she describes as "huge", mauled the 51 year old and snapped at her legs as she tried desperately to fight it off while lying prone in a quiet country lane.

The pig was eventually driven off by Mrs Robinson's worried teenage daughter, with the help of passers-by.

Animal experts say the attack could have been deadly as pigs have been known to become violent if they feel under threat or when protecting a food source or their young.

The animal is believed to still be on the loose in Hampshire's New Forest and police are urging people to be cautious and report any threatening pig incidents.

Mrs Robinson, of Totton, near Southampton, Hants, today described how she first noticed the pig while riding in the New Forest. The experienced horse rider said it initially appeared to be circling a white car parked on a verge with a woman and her dog inside.

Without warning, the pig then fixed her in its sights and suddenly charged at speed, spooking her horse.

"There was nowhere to go," Mrs Robinson said. "My horse spun around, started to panic and tried to run away. It then bucked, threw me and galloped off.

"It was then that the pig attacked me. "I got to my feet but the beast pushed me into a hedge and was trying to bite my legs.

"It got hold of my coat in its mouth. I had very little strength to fight it off because I was weak from the fall.

"It was terrifying. Ive never been attacked by anything before, let alone a pig. I didnt know how I was going to get out of the situation."

Mrs Robinsons 18-year-old daughter Charlotte, a student who was riding with her at the time, said: "As soon as my mum hit the ground I knew I had to get it away from her.

"I tried to make my horse attractive to the pig and was leading it around in circles to distract it."

The angry pig was eventually warded off with the help of a dog walker who had caught Mrs Robinsons horse Norman further down the lane.

The woman in the car also assited by starting to beep the vehicle's horn.

Mrs Robinson sought refuge in a nearby yard, and was taken to hospital after the attack at Brockis Hill Road, Bartley.

Mrs Robinson said: "It was the biggest pig Ive ever seen around the forest. It was huge. Im only 5ft 4in. It was definitely intent on taking a chunk out of me.

"Without someone there I dare not think what could have happened. Ive come across a lot of pigs but I have never had one run at me at speed.

"It took me five days to talk about it without breaking into tears. I was really shocked and shaken by it."

Mrs Robinson, a nurse from Huntingdon Close in Totton, spent two days in Southampton General Hospital following the attack.

The fall left her with fractured ribs, concussion and internal bleeding, which bruised half her body.

Animal behaviourist Dr Ann McBride from Southampton University said it was possible that the pig felt threatened and was defending a food source or some young.

She said: "Pigs can kill. They are very strong and have large teeth that can seriously hurt someone."

Dr McBride said that shouting and screaming may have been interpreted by the pig as aggressive behaviour. She added that humans had to respect New Forest animals such as ponies and pigs.

All the pigs in the Forest are owned by Commoners. Each year they are allowed onto open Forest land for 60 days, known as pannage season, to eat acorns which would otherwise poison the New Forest's famous ponies.

Normally about 200 are allowed out but a huge harvest of deadly acorns caused by the dry summer has this autumn seen a call for more pigs.

A spokesman for the Verderers - the ancient guardians of the Forest - said attacks by Commoners pigs, ponies or cattle were rare but should be reported so any problem animal could be removed.

Hampshire Police spokesman Alan Smith urged people to take care in the New Forest and report any furtehr pig incidents so "appropriate action" could be taken.

He said: "I have never heard of a pig attacking someone before, this is very unusual. This could be an isolated incident but we would urge anyone who feels threatened by an animal to report it so we can take appropriate action.

"Obviously we may have a problem identifying the animal in question. But we would liaise with the managers of the New Forest in a bid to identify it and take whatever action is considered necessary to prevent further incidents.

"In the meantime anyone entering the forest should acknowledge that animals are allowed to roam freely and exercise caution so as not to get close to animals which can often be unpredictable in behaviour."

Mrs Robinson called for the pig's owners to track it down and lock it up before it attacked someone else.

She said the pink pig, which was 4ft long, had made a bee-line for her horse after spotting it from more than 300 yards away.

Mrs Robinson, who is married to Nick, said: "It hurtled straight towards me at great speed. "It was one of the largest pigs I have ever seen and it was a terrible experience.

"Terrifying is not a word I would use often but I can honestly say it was absolutely terrifying. This is a very dangerous pig.

"I would like it taken off the forest and locked up so that it cannot savage someone else. It could have been much worse and I dread to think what could happen if it attacked a small child.

"Unfortunately I couldn't necessarily point it out in a pig parade so I think it is up to pig owners to be more responsible for their animals' behaviour and keep aggressive pigs away from the public.

"In the meantime I would urge everyone out there to give all pigs in the New Forest a wide berth."

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