Victim feels ‘lucky to be alive’ after attack

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A woman says she is ‘lucky to be alive’ after a dog attack left her needing more than 70 stitches in her face.

Colleen Hutchinson, aged 36, was helping neighbours move plant pots in their garden when the Staffordshire bull terrier suddenly clasped its jaws onto her face.

The terrified victim has since had an estimated 72 stitches in her face and needed an emergency operation to seal her wounds.

Ms Hutchinson, of Lichfield Road, Wheatley, said: “I was absolutely terrified. If it had got my jugular vein I could have died. I am lucky to be alive.

“I couldn’t believe a family pet would do that. I bent down to move a plant pot and the dog just bit me.”

The drama unfolded at a neighbour’s house on Durham Road, while she and partner Johnnie Gravil were helping them move a shed in their garden.

Mr Gravil said the neighbour’s pet grabbed hold for just a few seconds – but left his partner with large cuts.

The 43-year-old said: “She had cuts on her head, chin and around her eyes. We took her straight to Doncaster Royal Infirmary, but they said the injuries were so severe we should go to the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield.

“She had an operation to repair her eyelid and the doctors have said she might have to have more surgery depending on how her wounds heal.”

However, he said they were not taking any legal action over the incident.

The dog owners said the police had been informed and the dog was destroyed after the incident.

They said they were responsible pet owners and claimed Ms Hutchinson had been teasing the pet – which she denies.

A South Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said: “Police were made aware of a dog attack in a private, rear garden at the property of its owners on Durham Road, Wheatley, on Monday, August 12.

“The owners of the dog reported the incident to the police on the same day and the dog was put to sleep a few hours later.

“Officers investigated the incident and there is no further police action to be taken as the owners took all the positive action soon after the incident.

“The victim of the attack has been advised to contact Citizens Advice should she wish to take the matter further and pursue civil action.”

The current maximum sentence for allowing a dog that kills or injures someone to be dangerously out of control is two years’ imprisonment.

Under new proposals for England and Wales the owners of dogs that attack and kill someone could face a sentence of life in prison.