Kangaroo attacks dog and owner

MELBOURNE, Australia — A kangaroo startled by a man walking his dog attacked the pair, pinning the pet underwater and slashing the owner in the abdomen with its hind legs.

Chris Rickard was hospitalized Monday after the attack, which ended when the 49-year-old elbowed the kangaroo in the throat.

He said he was walking his blue heeler, Rocky, on Sunday morning when they surprised a sleeping kangaroo in Arthur's Creek northeast of Melbourne. The dog chased the animal into a pond, when the kangaroo turned and pinned the pet underwater.

When Rickard tried to pull his dog free, the kangaroo turned on him, attacking with its hind legs and tearing a deep gash into his abdomen and across his face.

' 'I thought I might take a hit or two dragging the dog out from under his grip, but I didn't expect him to actually attack me,'' Rickard, 49, told the Herald Sun newspaper. ''It was a shock at the start because it was a kangaroo, about 5 feet high. They don't go around killing people.''

Kangaroos rarely attack people but will fight if they feel threatened.

Rickard said he ended the attack by elbowing the kangaroo in the throat, adding that Rocky was''half-drowned'' when he pulled him from the water.