Honiton teenager injured in suspected ‘dognapping’

Scott Barnett with the family dog, Harvey.

Scott Barnett with the family dog, Harvey. - Credit: Archant

Scott Barnett, 16, was walking red labrador Harvey yesterday evening when he was confronted by an unknown assailant, who ‘lunged’ for his beloved pet.

A Honiton father has told of the terrifying moment his 16-year-old son was assaulted in what he believes was a ‘dog-napping’ attempt.

Teenager Scott Barnett was walking red labrador Harvey yesterday evening when he was confronted by an unknown assailant, who ‘lunged’ for his beloved pet.

The shocking incident, which took place in an alleyway between Buttery Close and Brand Road in Honiton, left 16-year-old Scott badly shaken.

David Barnett, Scott’s father, said the teenager also received several puncture wounds to his right arm as he fought off the attacker, promoting fears he was armed with a blade.

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Speaking to the Herald, David said: “Scott was walking Harvey at around 8.45pm.

“There was a man between 55 and 65 sat by a lamppost and as Scott passed him, he made a lunge for the dog.

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“The man grabbed the lead and ripped Scott’s t-shirt. There was a bit of a scuffle and in which Scott sustained lacerations to the outside of his right arm, which meant he had to go to the minor injuries unit.”

Police are investigating the incident and are hunting for the man, who was wearing a grey hoody and black trousers.

David said he believed the unprovoked attack was a ‘dognapping’ attempt, but does not know why the man went for the family pet.

He added: “I was shocked that someone would attack a child. There were long scratch marks down his arm, which makes me think a blade was used.

“I have no idea why he lunged for the dog – but I do know there has been a spate of ‘dognappings’ in the area.

“My main concern is that this kind of thing does not happen to anybody else.

“I feel, in this day and age, we should be about to walk around Honiton in relatively safety.”

David said despite his son being shaken by the incident, he returned to school to take his exams the following morning.

He added: “Scott is resilient enough to know that these things happen.

“But he will not be walking alone there again. At the end of the day, if you cannot walk a dog in the back streets of a quiet town, where can you?”

A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police said: “This is currently under investigation and enquiries are ongoing.

“If anyone saw anything or was in the area at the time and has information, police would like to speak to you. Contact 101@dc.police.uk or call 101 quoting CR/043983/17.”

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