First person: 'I was attacked by a rottweiler'

Sally Ann Sutton, 56

It all happened on Christmas night. My daughter Katie, her friend and her friend's little boy Bobbi were over at my house in Wigmore, a village in Kent. We were also looking after a shitzu, which belonged to another friend, John, whose wife had recently died. There's a road nearby called Grain Road which is always lit up for the Christmas holidays. It's lovely, with lots of decorations, and always attracts a lot of people. We decided we would go for a walk because the baby wouldn't settle and the dog wanted to go out.

Suddenly, we heard screaming. I thought it was a domestic, to begin with. Then I saw this rottweiler was attacking a woman. She had her husband with her, a big man, but they still couldn't get the dog off. Luckily for her, at that point the rottweiler made a beeline for the shitzu. The woman couldn't control her rottweiler, which was on an extendable lead. She let it go and it made for our dog. I picked him up, thinking: well, if John lost it after losing his wife it would be the end of the world. The rottweiler pulled the dog out of my arms. Then he dropped him and the shitzu ran under a nearby car. The rottweiler was too big to fit underneath, so he turned towards the buggy with the baby in it. I stepped in the way at that moment. The dog grabbed my right arm and I can't remember what happened after that point. The police said later that I was dragged up the road. I was like a feather. These dogs just grip you, lock their jaws and don't let go.

Luckily, everyone came out of their houses and got the dog off me. I knew it was serious because I could feel my arm hanging off me inside my coat. So they took me into the house. There was lots of arguing at that point. No one knew how serious it was; I think I was losing lots of blood but was wearing dark clothes. My husband is very calm in these situations, though, and he arrived and put my arm back together and bound it to stem the flow of blood. He then called the ambulance and talked to me all the way to the hospital; I am badly asthmatic and I couldn't breathe very well. They tried to keep my airwaves open.

I went on to have two operations which were not very nice. They moved me to another hospital in East Grinstead where I had skin grafts done. I now have one more operation to go. The ordeal damaged all my nerves; it is very painful. I don't have much use of my right hand. They said this next operation will help. It's up to me whether I go through with it. I will decide with the consultant next week.

Unbelievably, the people whose dog it was didn't want it destroyed. But the police told them once a dog has done this it gets a taste for it; and they'll take them to court and get it destroyed anyway. The couple were fined, but the woman has said she has no means to pay the £1,000. So I've got about £6 at the moment. If the dog had been muzzled it would have been OK. You don't have a dog like that on an extendible lead. There should be some sort of law to ensure those dogs have to be muzzled.

The police inspector who dealt with it all kept going on about how brave I'd been. I didn't think I was that brave. I did what anyone would have done. He disagreed, especially since I am so tiny. But it just came naturally. They put me up for a gold award in the National Police Bravery Awards. I was meant to go to Manchester on Wednesday to get it, but I got swine flu so I couldn't go. I have been so ill.

Originally, they didn't know it was swine flu. I had a heart attack three weeks ago, along with a severe chest infection. Because my immune system was down, maybe it made me more susceptible. It is more prevalent where I live. Anyway, they presented the award to me in the garden, yesterday.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Chief Executive

£28, 700: Whiskey Whiskey Tango: Property Management Company is seeking a brig...

COO / Chief Operating Officer

£80 - 100k + Bonus: Guru Careers: A COO / Chief Operating Officer is needed to...

HR Manager - Kent - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager / Training Manager (L&D /...

HR Manager - Edgware, London - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - Edgware, Lon...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?