Woman fears she’ll lose fingers after dog attack
‘I’M ABSOLUTELY TERRIFIED THIS ANIMAL WILL ATTACK AGAIN’
AWOMAN who was viciously attacked by a dog at a holiday park says she could lose two fingers after the animal ripped the skin from her hand and ate it.
Helen Hayes’ wound got gangrene in it after she was bitten by old English sheepdog Jaffa on Penllain caravan park in Benllech, Anglesey.
She was left needing emergency surgery after the incident in June of this year in which she claims the dog, owned by Felicity Fawcett who owns the neighbouring caravan on the site, “attacked without warning”.
Fawcett, a grandmother of Hoddlesden, Darwen in Lancashire, pleaded guilty to being in charge of Jaffa when he was dangerously out of control and causing injury when she appeared at Caernarfon Crown Court on Thursday.
A contingent destruction order was made requiring Jaffa to be kept under proper control and excluded from the caravan park.
Mrs Hayes says the dog was tethered outside the caravan when he suddenly lunged towards her as she stood talking to Ms Fawcett, 71.
She says the dog ripped the skin from the palm of her left hand and ate it before lurching towards her face.
The 49-year-old, from Wilmslow, also sustained a broken right arm in the attack and was rushed to Ysbyty Gwynedd where the wound in her hand tested positive for gangrene.
She was later transferred to Whiston Hospital in Liverpool for surgery to repair the damage to her hand but has been told she may still need to have her little finger and ring finger amputated.
Mrs Hayes, a communications director, said: “I’ve known Felicity for 10 years and Jaffa for seven and he is a big dog, standing he’s around 6ft tall.
“He’s familiar with me and I’m familiar with him so I have no idea why this happened.
“I was just standing there talking to Felicity with my arms by my side when suddenly without any warning at all he jumped at me. He took my left palm off and ate it then grabbed my other arm and pulled me to the floor giving me a spiral fracture.
“I’ve never known pain like it. “I staggered back to my caravan and sat on the decking in total disbelief and I could tell instantly that my arm was broken. The amount of blood was incredible and I was in horrendous pain.”
Mrs Hayes had to wait three days for surgery because of the level of infection in her left hand and was only able to have a local anaesthetic during surgery so doctors could be sure they weren’t further damaging the nerves in her hand.
The mother-of-one was in hospital for nearly a week after the attack and says she was unable to brush her own teeth and wash her hair due to the severity of the injuries.
She added: “All of this could have been avoided if the dog had been muzzled.
“I’ve been left with lifechanging injuries because of the attack – my hand is still bandaged, I can’t put it down on a surface without feeling like I’m having an electric shock and I may still have to have two of my fingers amputated. If he had been destroyed after the incident then I wouldn’t have had to go through the distress of a court case. I am absolutely terrified this dog will attack again and I feel it should have been put down for this attack alone.
She added: “Once a dog tastes blood there’s no going back and I’m certain it will attack again.”
The court has ordered that the dog must now be muzzled and kept on a lead or tether at all times in a public place and if the dog is ever found in breach of these conditions it will be destroyed.
Fawcett was fined £373 with costs of £122.
■ Helen Hayes, 49, was attacked by an old English sheepdog outside her caravan in Benllech, Anglesey