‘Thought I was going to die’ Three British children on holiday in Athens attacked by dogs

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Danny Kapetanios, nine, his father Stamatis, 52, and cousin Roxy, 11, were bitten by wild Rhodesian Ridgebacks. Teddy, nine, also found himself surrounded by the terrifying hounds, but managed to get away unhurt in the attack at the dormant Greek volcano Sousaki on August 13.

Stamatis spent six days in hospital but is now recovering from the trauma at home.

During the attack, the software developer’s left arm was paralysed but he managed to drive to the nearest hospital 25 minutes away.

Stamatis said: “We had walked around a kilometre on the tourist path before the dogs approached us. My first reaction was to put my body between the dogs and the children.

“I was armed with only a backpack with the children’s water bottles. I used it to stop the dogs until they bit my arm so forcefully that it was thrown out of my arm. Then they knocked me to the ground and began biting.”

He told MailOnline: “I thought I was going to die. I kept asking myself: ‘How can this possibly be the end?’ I was losing the will to live. I felt I didn’t have any power.”

With Stamatis out of action, the hounds went after Roxy, Danny and Teddy.

Roxy and Danny were bitten on the elbow and bottom, but Teddy managed to get away unharmed.

Brave Stamatis said: “When I saw the children around 30 metres behind me, it filled me [with] a reason to keep going. It gave me some kind of divine power.”

He chased down the pack and was able to scare them off, running with the children back to their vehicle at the base of the volcano.

After having lost his mobile phone in the attack, Stamatis drove to A&E. He said: “I had to drive for 20 to 25 minutes without using my left arm. It was the hardest challenge of the entire day.”

Stamatis’s wife Alison described the scene of the four arriving at A&E.

She said: “Parents covered their children’s eyes to stop them seeing the bloodbath.”

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The youngsters were given vaccinations while Stamatis underwent two and a half hours of blood transfusion because he had lost so much in the attack.

Stamatis was also given 50 stiches during a six-day stay in an Athens hospital.

He and Alison last week filed a lawsuit, which under Greek law targets “all parties responsible” for the incident.

They claimed police reported the presence of the wild Rhodesian Ridgebacks in November last year, describing how they were stunned no one in the local authority had removed or destroyed them.

The couple said the local government and mayor are most likely at fault, pending a police investigation.

Stamatis added: “The worst part for us is that this place is still open to the public. If you go there, you go to meet death.”

The Rhodesian Ridgeback breed was developed as a scent hound in South Africa to track game, according to The Kennel Club.

When the breed was taken to Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, it was mainly used to track lions with it being fast on the scent, athletic in tracking and courageous in holding the big cats at bay until hunters arrived. The breed takes its name from a ridge of hair growing along its spine.

Greece has one of the world’s largest populations of stray dogs with management of hounds without homes left to local municipalities.

Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, recently adopted a rescue puppy in a bid to highlight the issue.

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