Woman feared for life in dog attack

Story by Seamus Enright

Tuesday, 12th February, 2019 5:36pm

Woman feared for life in dog attack

Marie holding the now battered and broken umbrella she used to fend off two dogs that were attacking her.

A widow “feared for my life” when attacked by dogs with only an umbrella to fend off the vicious canines.
“They were definitely going for blood,” says Marie Flanagan from Bailieborough, who only survived more serious injuries thanks to the intervention of a neighbour who came to her aid during the incident on Barrack Street on Sunday, February 3.
What had started out as a typical Sunday morning coming into town “to do a few bits” very nearly turned into a nightmare situation.
Marie remembers seeing the dogs with no owner ahead of her as she walked from her home on the outskirts of the East Cavan town shortly after 11.30am in the morning. “They were at me before I knew it, circling me. It was only when one of them pulled at the back of my trousers that I really started to get afraid. The next thing, and I don’t know if it was the nipping or did I just come off balance myself, but I was on the ground. It was the last thing I expected,” says Marie who walks and cycles the road regularly.
The rest was a blur of snapping and snarls. What “felt like ages,” Marie notes probably lasted, in reality, only several minutes.
The incident is the second involving uncontrolled dogs in the county in as many weeks after a significant sheep kill was reported in the Crossdoney area.
“I was just so shocked. There wasn’t anyone around. It was when one pulled at my clothes that I really got afraid. It was then I screamed for help, ‘will somebody please help me?’,” remembers Marie, who says nothing like this has this has ever happened to her before. Her voice trembles slightly as she’s forced to recall what happened.
“If I didn’t have my umbrella, I don’t know what might have happened. It’s all bent and battered now where I was trying to protect my self,” adds Marie who moved back to her native Bailieborough 18 years ago after the death of her husband. Prior to that Marie had been living in London.
Making a waving motion with her hand, she notes: “While it was an old umbrella, it was a long one, but it did help. I’m just glad I had it.”
One of the dogs, Marie recalls, did have a harness on its body. She can’t identify the breed, though she has been told since that one was a brown-coloured Boxer, and the other a Spaniel-type.
She has also been informed that a car pulled up soon after the attack, driven by a woman, and the dogs were taken away. To this date, Marie has no idea who the animal’s owner is.
While suffering no serious injuries, except bruising to her hand and side from where she fell, it’s the shock of the incident that has stuck with Marie.
She admits she’ll be “more wary” in future, having never had a problem with dogs her entire life before this. “I’m fine, but I know I’ll be more wary now, particularly of big dogs.”
She feels the dog’s owner, if they can be found, should “at the very least” be given a warning.
While the incident occurred almost directly across from the Garda Station, and members of the force did appear on the scene, Marie has heard little or nothing from them since the incident.
She however pragmatically states “it could have been a lot worse”, though fears if nothing is done the same scenario may happen again except potentially with a more horrifying outcome.
“If they attacked somebody again, and maybe they might not be so lucky - A person older than me, or a child even - that’d be terrible.”
Philip Clarke, who came to Marie’s aid, agrees.
“I heard a scream,” recalls Philip, who lives only doors away from where the attack occurred. “It’s an awful thing to happen to anyone. She was pulled across the road. I just ran to her and helped her up and the dogs ran off.”
Philip brought Marie home after the attack and made her a cup of tea to help settle her nerves.
He says of the Boxer: “It was ferocious looking, the type it was. Marie was lying in a pile on the street. I said to the cops that the two dogs had gone running down the town. If they’d attacked anyone, else there would have been hell about it. But the main thing is nobody was, and Marie was okay.”

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