Alfie, a ten-month-old German shorthaired pointer, lunged at the thugs and sent them sprawling as they tried to snatch him on a walk.
The Sun reports that owner Michael, 64, turned as he was sprayed but got burns to his neck, chest, arm and leg. Alfie, thought to be worth £3,000, sent the thieves sprawling and ran home, but also suffered burns to his back.
Michael’s wife Gabrielle, 66, was so shocked she had a heart attack – leaving the couple both in hospital while a vet tried to ensure show dog Alfie is not left with lifelong scars.
Last night Michael, who did not want to be identified fully for fear of reprisals, was still at a specialist burns unit in East Grinstead, West Sussex, after the Sunday morning attack in the village of Boughton Monchelsea, Kent. Gabrielle may need a heart op.
A pal posted on Facebook how Gabrielle had texted her about the attack to say: “The stress of it all has put me in hospital. I have been told I had a small heart attack.” Gabrielle added: “We may never be able to show Alfie again! Only care that he is OK. Alfie managed to get away and ran home – that’s my clever boy!”
Sue Rose, of the German Shorthaired Pointer Society, said: “Michael and Gabrielle are the nicest people, which makes this all the more shocking. Alfie is a very attractive dog with a lovely personality.”
Sue has set up a JustGiving appeal to support Michael and Gabrielle. Last night it had raised more than £1,500.
Police are appealing for information about the attackers. Both are white. One is said to be in his 40s and of large build and the other in his 30s and slim.