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
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: Human Resources Manager

£28000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: A successful organisation...

Recruitment Genius: Internal Recruiter - Manufacturing

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Internal Recruiter (manufact...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager (CIPD) - Barking / East Ham - £50-55K

£50000 - £55000 per annum + 25 days holidays & benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Man...

Recruitment Genius: Operations / Project Manager

£40000 - £48000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This software company specialis...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones