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Misery of dog attack victim
A WOMAN who needed reconstructive surgery after being attacked by a dog has urged people to be more vigilant with animals they are concerned about.
Deidre McCarthy, 62, of Foggathorpe, lost two-thirds of her top lip after being attacked by a dog while working near Wetherby in December 2008.
Following two operations – in which her lips had to be almost completely grafted together for six weeks and then reconstructed – Mrs McCarthy said she had been left with no feeling around her mouth and had to learn to eat and talk again.
But despite the case going to court, Mrs McCarthy said the owner was simply instructed to keep his dog in a muzzle in the future.
She wanted to speak out about her experience to urge people to report and follow-up attacks and for owners to be responsible with dogs.
Mrs McCarthy said about her injuries: “Although many people say ‘I can’t see anything’, it’s very obvious to me all the time and still causes some problems with eating and drinking.
“Three-and-a-half years on, I still find it difficult to take my own two dogs for a walk on my own.
“I’m very nervous with strange dogs and in particular, dogs owned by people I don’t know. The attack totally changed my life.”
“I have worried since about the dog attacking someone else. I’m not anti-dog in any way but where a dog has proved to be dangerous, I feel very strongly that it should be put down. If it had been a child, the consequences would probably have been far worse, possibly fatal.”
Mrs McCarthy, who has her own dogs and used to run a pet-food franchise, said people should also be wary of dogs which were not traditionally thought to be aggressive, because the animal which attacked her was a labrador and retriever cross.
She said: “It is widely believed that only certain breeds are aggressive. In the business we had a number of rottweilers, staffies and other breeds thought to be aggressive, as ‘customers’. They were all friendly, obedient and lovable. I was used to being with dogs and believed that I was good with dogs so it made the attack even more distressing.”