Woman savaged by bull mastiff

By MEL MARTIN

JACQUI Fogarty feels lucky she is so tall and had rugged up for winter last Friday.

Otherwise, she fears the bull mastiff cross that attacked her in an Emerald Beach street could have got to her throat.

As it is, Mrs Fogarty will have permanent scars on her chest, and a lasting distrust of dogs.

"This dog jumped up on me. I'm nearly six feet tall and I was looking straight at its face," Mrs Fogarty said.

"It mangled my jumper, bruised my leg and bit me on the breast.

"I was in a lot of pain but what frightened me the most was that I thought this dog was just going to maul me."

Trying to get to a safe place, she ran into the back seat of her car.

"I was very distraught, shaking and crying. My head was spinning."

As she rang the police, Mrs Fogarty was horrified to see a woman with a pram and young boy walking along and the dog running out towards them 'like a speeding bullet'.

"It bit her and she screamed and they hurried off. I thought it was going to maul that little boy. I felt so helpless," she said.

Mrs Fogarty was able to warn off two little girls approaching on their pushbikes.

"I was screaming 'get away, get away'," she said.

And luckily, they did.

The dog was eventually taken away and has been impounded.

Woolgoolga police, who attended the scene, said they had not yet been able to speak to the owner and the fate of the dog could not be determined until then.

But while this wasn't the first time the dog had attracted the attention of authorities, Coffs Harbour City Council said that it had not previously been declared dangerous, though a declaration would be in place today.

"The owner had (previously) been spoken to by council rangers and a warning issued regarding his responsibilities," Senior Ranger David Brooks said.

"He also has been fined on two occasions, these being for unregistered dog and one for uncontrolled dog in a public place. Neither of these fines related to the dog being considered dangerous."

For Mrs Fogarty letting dogs roam is not only dangerous, it's also neglect, putting them at risk of being run over.

"Dog owners should keep them under control. There is a reason there are laws," she said.

"People should be able to feel safe, even if they need to knock on someone's door.

"There are Red Cross people, mail deliverers, paper deliverers, a child might run and catch a ball."

She says she thought very seriously about what should happen to the bull mastiff cross.

"It's a beautiful, striking dog. I would feel sorry, but I think the most responsible thing to do is to put it down. It obviously has an aggressive nature, and I wouldn't like to take the gamble," she said.

"It frightens me that it could attack a child whose whole life could be destroyed.

"I would be horrified to think that after all the complaints and this attack, that they would give it another chance."



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