Councillor needs surgery after “vicious” dog attack while out canvassing

A Sheffield councillor needed an operation and plastic surgery after being viciously bitten by a dog while out leafleting.

Tuesday, 30th April 2019, 12:20 pm
Updated Tuesday, 30th April 2019, 16:23 pm
Coun Denise Fox needed surgery after being bitten by a dog while out canvassing

Former Lord Mayor Denise Fox had reconstructive surgery on her right index finger after a dog attacked her when she put her hand through a letterbox.

She has had four hospital appointments since the attack last week and will need further treatment. The dog owner has been given a warning by police.

Denise, a Labour councillor, was delivering leaflets in Westfield ahead of the local elections when the attack happened.

She said: “It was very nasty. You often get nipped by dogs as they warn you off but this was a really vicious attack, it nearly took my finger off.

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“The dog didn’t bark or give any kind of warning. I’ve no idea what type of dog it was but the letterbox was at waist height so it must have been tall.

“When it happened I screamed and knocked on the door but no one answered. I went back a few days later but the owners weren’t there so I reported it to the police.”

Some politicians push leaflets through letterboxes with wooden spoons, sticks or unbrellas to avoid dog bites.

Denise, who was leafleting with her ten-year-old grandson, said: “If he had put his hand through the dog could have had his hand off. Normally I wear gloves but it was a lovely day so I didn’t have any on.”

She needed a tetanus booster and antibiotics plus several hospital appointments. “I saw a plastic surgeon because they need to reconstruct my finger and I had an operation at the weekend to clean it out.

“I have lost the feeling on the end of my finger and it’s wrapped in bandages but the hospital is encouraging me to move it to keep the blood flowing. It’s kept me from campaigning and driving for a while.”

Denise doesn’t want to prosecute but police have issued the owners with a warning. “We’ve all had a small nip from a dog and I can even remember going down a path where an Alsatian grabbed my arm but it didn’t break the skin and the owner immediately shouted at it and it let go.

“I’m not afraid of dogs, our family has had dogs and I love them, but I asked the police to speak to the owners to tell them how serious the injury was. They must have postmen and other delivery people calling at the house.

“I don’t want to prosecute as it’s not the dog’s fault, it’s the owners who need reprimanding. I don’t want to see anybody’s pet taken off them but they have a responsibility to protect people with a post basket on the door and warning signs.”

A few years ago, three political campaigners had the ends of their fingers bitten off by dogs while leafleting during the local elections. Diana Stimely, Sue Ross and Michael Nicholson all needed operations.