THREE political campaigners have had the ends of their fingers bitten off by dogs while posting leaflets ahead of tomorrow’s Sheffield Council elections.
Lib Dem councillor Diana Stimely, Sue Ross, wife of Lib Dem deputy leader Coun Colin Ross, and Michael Nicholson, husband of district Labour Party secretary Viv Nicholson, have all needed operations.
Mrs Ross and Mr Nicholson received surgery yesterday, while Coun Stimely was treated after being attacked earlier in the campaign and is now recovering.
Coun Stimely, who was canvassing in School Road, Crookes, when she was injured, lost the tip of her right index finger.
She is urging dog owners to take measures that could avoid other people posting leaflets and letters from suffering the same fate.
The 71-year-old grandmother, who was attacked while delivering leaflets for party colleague Rob Frost, said: “I am a dog lover myself, but would urge dog owners to take precautions.”
Coun Stimely, a dog lover who ‘dog sits’ for her grandson’s Labrador, Molly, says visitors could be warned by a notice on the gate or outside of the house with the message ‘a dog lives here’.
Recalling the attack, she said: “All I felt was the leaflet move, and I thought ‘there’s a dog’. It had completely taken off the end of my right index finger. I couldn’t believe it.
“I was leaning against a wall and a couple came up and said: ‘are you alright’.
“I said ‘no, a dog has bitten my finger off’. It was theirs. The woman was more distraught than I was. She was shouting to her husband to get an ambulance.”
Coun Stimely, who represents Ecclesall ward, went to hospital with the tip of the finger in ice, but it could not be saved.
Meanwhile, Mrs Ross was attacked on Monday, her 58th birthday, at an address off Causeway Head, Dore.
Her husband, who is defending his Dore and Totley seat, said: “Sue went out delivering leaflets for me when she was hurt. She lost a nail and had to go to the minor injuries unit at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital. She was then transferred to the Northern General.”
Mrs Ross, who broke a leg while canvassing for her husband 10 years ago after falling on uneven pavement, had to return to the Northern General yesterday for an operation on her finger.
Labour campaigner Michael Nicholson, aged 82, who has been out canvassing for the last 40 years, was attacked at an address near Manor Top.
Wife Viv said her husband, from Granville Road, broke a ‘cardinal rule’, that you should not put your fingers through letter boxes.
Mrs Nicholson said: “The dog got two of his outer finger. He found it hard to get his hand out of the letter box.”
Mr Nicholson first went to his doctor at Manor Surgery and then went to the minor injuries unit at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital before being transferred to the Northern General. He was allowed home on Monday night, but had to return yesterday for an operation.
None of the attacks have been reported to police - with campaigners viewing attacks as an occupational hazard.
Mrs Nicholson said: “It’s our choice to put leaflets through letter boxes.”