Good samaritan who saved drowning dog hospitalised after animal bit his face

An animal lover, who jumped into a river to save a drowning dog, ended up in hospital when the creature bit him on the face.

Reece Taylor leapt into action while cycling alongside a river and hearing someone shouting for help to save his drowning dog.

Bentley, an Italian cane corso, had fallen off the side of a boat moored at the Norwich Yacht Station, River Wensum, early last Thursday morning.

Reece stripped down to his undies and leapt into the river to save the 60kg animal – only for the distressed pet to bite him on his face.

The 27-year-old who works as a Deliveroo rider and a part-time chef at The Whalebone in Norwich had left the gym at 6:30am when he leapt into action.

The dog lover explained: “I was cycling along the road and saw a woman’s partner in the middle of the road amidst cars and early morning runners.

“I could hear the man saying, ‘Please help, my dog is going to drown.’

“When I was growing up my mum was like the local animal shelter – we had dogs, cats, rabbits, a pet pigeon called Swark, turkeys: any animal we had it.

“I knew I couldn’t cycle past and not help.

“So I just stopped my bike, stripped down into my undies on the side of the road – didn’t even hesitate and jumped straight in.”

Reece eventually managed to help lift Bentley on to the side of the boat, but was bitten above his eye by the dog in the process.

The two-year-old dog, who was reportedly exhausted and close to drowning at the time of Reece’s interference, belonged to Jade Lanigan and Jacob Williams who were on a boating holiday in the city with their son Jamie.

Jacob had already attempted to save Bentley’s life before Reece showed up, but was unable to because Bentley’s weight kept pushing him underwater.

With the help of Jade’s pulling, Reece managed to get a rope around Bentley, and pushed the dog onto the boat, with one hand on the boat and another around the dog’s back.

Mr Taylor went straight to the walk-in centre and was told to head to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital where a surgeon put stiches in his right eyebrow.

Reece said: “If I had cycled past and saw the dog drown in the river I would never have been able to live with myself knowing I could have helped.

“I didn’t even notice the injury whilst I was in the water – it must have been the adrenaline – but he was so scared.

“I’m so happy to have helped the family and their beautiful dog.”

Reece has since been in touch with the extremely grateful couple, and plans to visit them in Cambridgeshire to “meet Bentley properly.”

Jade added: “Reece was just so happy to see the look on are traumatised faces that we had our very heavy dog back.

“We want to thank the brave young man with all our hearts.”