PARAMEDICS were unable to to help an unconscious man suffering a heart attack because they were worried about his dogs.

Michael Clarke was bitten by Ozzie, a cross between a Staffordshire bull terrier and a Dorset Bulldog, after he went into his neighbour’s home to try to help him when he suffered a heart attack.

Paramedics had refused to go into Brian Francis’s home, in Sycamore Road, on Colchester’s Greenstead estate, amid concerns about the behaviour of his dogs.

But Mr Clarke went in to the house to calm the dogs, which also attacked Mr Francis’s Jack Russell, Peggy.

He said: “I found the paramedics outside, who wouldn’t go in to the house because of the dogs.

“I went in and two Staffordshire bull terriers jumped on Peggy. One got hold of her back and the other her front, and they would have torn her apart.

“I got bitten on the finger trying to get Peggy out and I’ve got puncture marks on the back of my thigh where one of the dogs sunk its teeth into me.”

Another neighbour was able to calm the dogs and paramedics took Mr Francis to Colchester General Hospital for treatment.

The ambulance crew treated Mr Clarke’s bites at the scene, while Peggy, who suffered 67 injuries including a ruptured spleen, was taken to the vets.

Despite his injuries, Mr Clarke said he would do the same thing again.

He said: “If somebody asks for help, I will help, because people have helped me in the past when I needed it. But I’m worried about those dogs and what could happen.”

Mr Francis, who was unconscious throughout the incident, said Mr Clarke saved his life.

He said: “It was good of my neighbour to get involved for me.

“I really don’t know what happened because I was having a heart attack. I’ve got permission to have all our dogs and look after them properly.”

Ozzie was taken away for assessment by the RSPCA yesterday.

Mr Francis added: “I’m sad, but it has to be done. He had never bitten anyone before, but once a dog has done it once, something nasty could happen the next time.”

East Of England Ambulance Service spokeswoman Joy Hale said the safety of staff giving medical treatment was “paramount”.

She said: “Crews have to use their discretion when arriving at the scene of a call where their safety could be called into question. We would always urge people to secure any animals who may become agitated because of the presence of strangers, such as an ambulance crew, for everyone’s safety and, of course, so the patient we’re called to can be seen swiftly.

“Crews very much appreciate assistance from members of the public. This, of course, was done so at their discretion, and all factors regarding safety have to be considered.”