Monday, 18 December 2017

Mother’s arm ripped open by Labrador attack

A MOTHER has told how her arm was ripped open in an attack by a dog as she tried to

A MOTHER has told how her arm was ripped open in an attack by a dog as she tried to save her own pet from being mauled.

Sarah Funnell was left hysterical and screaming in front of her young son after the Labrador set on her as she was walking her Welsh terrier Ted.

She had to make her way home with her left arm bleeding and in severe pain and she later needed surgery.

Now she is too frightened to go walking with Ted again.

Mrs Funnell, 50, said: “I am absolutely petrified — I don’t even want to go out.”

The incident happened on May 11 as she was walking 11-month-old Ted near her home in Milldown Road, Goring, accompanied by her nine-year-old son Jack and a friend of his.

Mrs Funnell said: “We were at Cow Hill, a bit of spare land where we all walk our dogs — it is very well known and so handy.

“I was contemplating whether to keep Ted on the lead but I thought we had enough time so I let him off.

“We were just coming round the corner heading up the hill when I saw a man and his two Labradors in the distance. My heart sank as soon as I saw them as about a month previously the black Labrador went for my dog.

“The dogs were both off the lead and were running in front of their owner, although the golden Lab was behind the black one.

“I tried to call Ted quietly because he was sniffing around and had not really noticed but before I got to him he had noticed the black Lab and had got down in a submissive position.

“He was crouching and the black Lab crouched and then raced towards Ted. He had a little sniff and then he got Ted by the neck and had him pinned down.

“His owner was strolling towards us, not making any rushed movements or calling his dog.

“Ted really did not have a chance. The other dog had him in that killer position and his mouth was entirely round him.

“I thought, ‘I have to get Ted out of there because he is going to kill him’. The other dog’s teeth were bared and there was saliva everywhere.”

Mrs Funnell had picked her dog up and was holding him in both arms when the Labrador attacked her.

“The dog just jumped up,” she said. “He didn’t even come to get Ted, who was on my right, he jumped up to my left side and bit me. I screamed.

“The dog bit me just once — he did not hang on and he did not attack again. By this time the guy had finally got to me. It is a bit of a blur but I think he put the dog on the lead but he did not tell him off or say sorry to me, he just started walking away.

“I was hysterical and was hyperventilating. I did not really know what to do. I just wanted his dog away from me.

“It was horrible — I had these two young boys with me who were more distressed than I was over the incident.They saw the dog jump up but it was my screaming that upset them.” Mrs Funnell, a gardener and caterer, knew straight away that her injury was serious.

She said: “I had my hand on my arm and luckily I had a thick jumper and a long-sleeved top on, which I think was holding everything together.

“I could feel my arm pulsating, so I put it in the air which meant there was not too much blood.

“I was still screaming and the owner of the dog turned and asked if I was all right. Someone from a nearby house called the police because she had heard me scream.”

Mrs Funnell walked home with the boys and told Jack to call her husband Adrian, a kitchen fitter who was working in Bracknell. Her daughter India, 12, was staying with a friend.

She said: “My arm was searing. It was so painful, I could hardly breathe. There was a fair amount of blood but it was not gushing out, I think because I had my jumper on. I called my friend Sian, who lives in South Stoke, who came round straight away. I took a painkiller and Jack bandaged my arm and Sian called an ambulance.”

A paramedic arrived and told her she would need to be taken to hospital.

She dressed Mrs Funnell’s arm and then took her to the accident and emergency department at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading.

At the hospital, she gave a statement to police who photographed her injury.

Mrs Funnell said: “I was seen quite quickly and they washed the wound, saying they could not do anything more and I would have to go to theatre as it was so deep and big.

“Because it was a dog bite, it needed to be cleaned out and the contaminated tissue removed.”

She had to wait until 10pm the following day for the operation, which took an hour-and-a-half, and was then put on a ward.

Mrs Funnell said: “I had a huge headache afterwards and was getting really quite distressed. I was reliving it all and in tears most of the time.”

Her arm was put in a cast and she was released from hospital the next day.

She said: “I was really emotional and could not do anything. I could not move my arm or look after the kids.

“I am lucky to have such a lovely network of friends who brought food and flowers round. Adrian took a couple of days off to look after me.

“I have not been able to do any work as I cannot do anything physical.

“I am such a confident person and everyone in the village knows me but this has really shaken me and made me feel really vulnerable. It has been a massive knock to my confidence.”

Mrs Funnell wants the Labrador to be destroyed. “I do not want this to happen to anyone else,” she said. “I do not care about compensation or anything else. That dog is dangerous and we are in a village full of little kids.”

* A 45-year-old man from Goring has been arrested on suspicion of owning a dog and allowing it to be dangerously out of control in a public place, causing injury. He has been released on police bail until Monday.

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