Dog walker attacked on Heath feared pets would be stolen

Dog walker Joe Thomason. Picture: Nigel Sutton.

Dog walker Joe Thomason. Picture: Nigel Sutton. - Credit: Nigel Sutton

A popular Hampstead dog walker feared he had fallen victim to dog thieves after being attacked while out on the Heath this week.

Joe Thomason, 23, whose company Green Dog Walking serves numerous Hampstead dog owners, was walking with six dogs on Sandy Heath around 3pm on Tuesday when he was attacked by a man also walking on the Heath.

The attacker, described as a stocky 5ft 8in man in his 30s with grey hair and an Irish accent, confronted Mr Thomason after one of the dogs ran up to him barking.

“He was running towards me saying he was going to knock my teeth out and calling me all sorts of names,” said Mr Thomason, who used to walk Sir Paul McCartney’s dogs.

“I had leads in both hands so I couldn’t even defend myself. I was more worried about the dogs.”

During the attack, the man aimed several punches at Mr Thomason which did not connect but forced him into the path of oncoming traffic in Wildwood Road.

The attacker was then joined by two other men who surrounded Mr Thomason’s van and forced him out of the road and back onto Sandy Heath where he called the police.

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“Two of the dogs stayed near the men and I ended up calling the police saying, ‘I’ve just been attacked and I’m worried about my dogs being stolen’,” said Mr Thomason.

Police arrived at the scene within minutes by which point the men had disappeared. None of the dogs were stolen.

Mr Thomason added: “Because we are walking groups of dogs and there’s been loads of thefts going on, we are always worried about being a victim.”