A Coventry mum and her seven-year-old daughter were rushed to hospital after being attacked by a dog while out shopping. Vicky Rafferty and her daughter Evie-Louise Mannion were at Gallagher Retail Park in Coventry on Monday (June 6) when the horrific event unfolded.
Vicky, 35, told how the German Shepherd attacked her daughter for no apparent reason while they walked along. Vicky tried to pull the dog away from her defenceless daughter, as she screamed in agony, and ended up being attacked too.
Explaining what happened she said: “We were between Aldi and Pets at Home at the Gallagher Retail Park on Monday, between 4.30pm and 5pm. We were walking along and it literally just attacked my daughter Evie-Louise.
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“It pulled her to the floor. Luckily she pulled her hands up to her face but she got bites to her arms – it’s a mess.
“It grabbed her by her foot and pulled her to the ground and carried on biting her from her shoulder to just past her elbow. The dog just wasn’t letting go.”
Vicky told how all she could think about was protecting her daughter. When her efforts, along with those of the dog’s female owner, had no effect she resorted to desperate measures.
“I had to boot it in the face four times and that’s when it attacked me,” she said. “I was pulling my daughter by her legs, anything to get her away from that dog.
“It was a six-year-old German shepherd. The owner was trying to pull it back by the harness but had no chance.”
Vicky said that although the dog had a harness on it was not on a lead and added that the owner said she had taken it to Pets at Home to be fitted for a muzzle.
“I managed to get it off my daughter by kicking it in the face,” she said. “I was screaming ‘get my daughter away, get my daughter away’.
“It let go of her after four kicks to the face. Then it got hold of me. I was on the floor and it was biting me.”
Vicky suffered a number of bites, including puncture wounds to her hip and the top of her leg and estimated she was bitten five times. “I was fighting it on the floor,” she said. “I had a big padded coat on and it tore through that.”
The owner eventually got control of the dog and managed to lock it in her car. Vicky, who suffers from prolapsed discs in her spine, said she fainted twice in the wake of the attack.
They then waited for the police and ambulance service to arrive. Both she and Evie-Louise were treated at the scene before being taken to University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire for further treatment and tetanus jabs.
Vicky said her daughter’s arm had swollen up “like a balloon” and that she sustained around seven bite injuries, including a nasty puncture wound where fat tissue was exposed. Now Vicky and Evie-Louise are dealing with the aftermath of the attack.
“It literally was the worst day of my life,” said Vicky. “I had to get sleeping tablets from my doctor and when I do go off I have flashbacks.”
She said that Evie-Louise is deeply traumatised by the incident. She faces a return visit to the accident and emergency department at UHCW to have an x-ray due to severe pain in her shoulder.
Vicky added: “She’s not sleeping well and crying and shouting in her sleep at night – ‘mum, mum, please, please’. She’s off school for the week, on antibiotics and still got an open wound.”
She said she was relieved the police took the dog away – they had to call out a specialist dog unit from Birmingham to do so. However, she is concerned by the fact she said she was told by a police officer that the dog would be assessed over a two-week period to see whether it could be returned to its owner or not.
“I am concerned that this dog could be back out there soon,” she said. “I’m worried that it could attack a child again but that next time it could be fatal.”
A spokesman for West Midlands Polic e said: “We were called to Gallagher Retail Park in Coventry on Monday (June 6) to reports a child had been bitten by a dog. The seven-year-old and her mother who suffered bruising were treated at the scene by paramedics.
“The dog, a German shepherd was seized under Section 3 of the Dangerous Dog Act. An investigation will now take place and the dog’s behaviour will be assessed.”