Woman fears she’ll lose fin­gers af­ter dog at­tack

‘I’M AB­SO­LUTELY TER­RI­FIED THIS AN­I­MAL WILL AT­TACK AGAIN’

Bangor Mail - - News - Amelia Shaw

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

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