Mylor dog attack - the victim's story
After being viciously attacked by a dog on a back road near Mylor last week, the 19-year old victim has told the Packet her story.
Suzy Powell, who is home for the summer holidays after finishing her first year of study towards a pharmaceutical degree at Manchester University, was driving back to Devoran from a friend's house on Thursday evening when she saw a tan-coloured Staffordshire Bull Terrier flash up in her headlights.
“I just saw it in the road - it was in the middle of the road and it wouldn't move, that's why I stopped,” she said.
Suzy stopped the car and walked over to the animal, thinking it was runaway, or that it might be injured.
But as she approached, the dog's demeanour changed.
“I don't even know how old it was,” Suzy said.
“It looked fine when I came up to it but then it just flipped.
“I think it could tell I was nervous, because I started to back away and then it just went for me.”
Before she could make it back to her car the dog had sunk its teeth into her left calf - leaving a wound so deep it would take 12 stitches to close later that evening, at the Royal Cornwall Hospital at Treliske.
There is no way to know how long the Staffie - a female, it would turn out later - kept a hold of Suzy. It could have been seconds, it could have been minutes.
One thing that Suzy is sure of, however, is that while she struggled - frightened and alone - against this animal that had its jaws locked around her leg, two cars drove past her.
“I wouldn't expect them to get out,” Suzy said. “But at least pull over and stop. I was in the middle of the road.”
She tried to prize its mouth open with her fingers, she even slammed the car door on her own leg in an attempt to free herself, but the dog stuck fast - all Suzy knows is that somehow, it let go eventually.
“I tried to get back in my car and I had to fight it off,” she said.
“I was in shock, I don't think I realised what had happened.”
“It kept circling my car, which was not fun and I was on my own. I didn't know what to do but I thought it was pretty bad so I phoned an ambulance.”
The paramedics and the police arrived in short order and they put Suzy at ease following her traumatic ordeal.
“They were all so nice, especially the paramedics in the ambulance. They kept me calm,” she said.
Special praise was reserved for Treliske nurse Melanie Griffiths, who was “wonderful,” Suzy's mum Philippa said.
After a five hour hunt, the police found the dog.
They were anxious to pick it up that same night, before Mylor Primary School - just a mile and a half down road from where the attack took place at 10.15pm - opened the following morning.
Because news travel fast in small villages, and to put people's minds at rest, the police uploaded a note to social networking website Facebook to say the dog had been captured and destroyed.
This not only provoked horror and sympathy at the extent of Suzy's injuries, but also stimulated a backlash from people claiming she had “tormented” the dog that attacked her.
This has upset Suzy - more so it would seem than the attack itself - because the only two things that moved her to tears during her interview with the Packet were the cruel remarks made online and recalling the hopelessness of two cars driving past her while she stood stricken and screaming in the road.
“I don't want people to be annoyed with me because the dog was put down,” Suzy said.
“People are saying on Facebook and things that I tormented it. But I was pretty defenceless when I was stood out there in the dark.”
Sergeant Gary Watts, from Falmouth Police Station, has put out an appeal to find the owners of the dog.
The police have a photograph of it, which they sent to Suzy for identification following its capture, but are unwilling to release it to the public as they fear it will provoke yet more backlash from dog lovers.
Sgt Watts said: “The dog is no longer a danger. If anyone has any idea whose dog it is, we would like to know.
“I think it might have been a case of: it's a stray dog. It was very hungry, very scared. Its demeanour did change while the police were dealing with it.
“There was no collar, it was not micro chipped.
“It may be that rather than doing the responsible thing and taking the dog to the vets the owner has seen the way it is and abandoned the animal to that fate.”
If anyone has any information regarding the attack, the dog or its owner, they are urged to contact Falmouth Police on 101, quoting log number 860 of June 28.