herald

Tuesday 6 December 2016

'I almost lost my arm after attack by bear-killer dog owned by my dad', says mum

Olivia Donnelly shows the wounds left by the attack
Olivia Donnelly shows the wounds left by the attack

A mum-of-three almost lost her arm in a savage dog attack that lasted more than two hours.

Olivia Donnelly's left arm was ripped open and she suffered horrific injuries to her leg while being mauled by a Japanese Akita dog.

Six weeks after the terrifying ordeal, Olivia faces eight operations this year as she recovers.

She has spoken out to warn about the dangers of restricted breeds, such as the Akita.

The dog, Bran, was owned by her late father Mickey, who passed away after a heart attack at his pub, the Readypenny Inn near Dundalk, on November 4. Olivia (35) was set upon by the dog when it escaped from the yard at the back of the pub 10 days later.

Swung

"I didn't even see him until he had my arm in his mouth.

"He swung me all around the yard. I don't know at what stage I copped on that if I played dead he would just circle me."

Even then, the dog bit her "as if he was seeing if I was alive. I began to gradually crawl to the back door; it took two hours.

"At one stage he came in for a big attack again. That was when he grabbed my arm and I could see him ripping it," she said.

Family members became aware of the attack and came to her aid.

Olivia said she has no memory of what happened from the time she got inside until she woke up in Beaumont Hospital.

She said she was very grateful to the staff there, including the doctors who saved her arm.

"I thought I was dead. The doctors said if I was there 20 minutes longer there was nothing they could have done as I had lost so much blood."

Olivia was released from hospital in time to spend Christmas with her fiance, Patrick Kane (35), and children, Keelan (8), Oisin (6) and Teirnan (4).

She warned of the dangers of Akita dogs.

"They look like cute wee teddy bears but they were trained bear killers. It is their instinct. Be very, very careful if you get an Akita."

Vet Garrett Shine said that "any dog can bite, but there is a reason why the list of restricted breeds was drawn up and it is because if they go 'wrong' they go seriously wrong".

There have been other attacks by this breed in the past in Ireland.

In March 2014 a six-year-old girl was attacked by an Akita, near her home in Limerick while she was out playing. The girl received 17 stitches to her face after she attempted to pet the dog.

In February 2013 a boy aged five suffered several injuries to his head after being attacked by an Akita in Sligo.

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