A woman has lost her ear in a savage attack by a stranger’s rottweiler after she asked to stroke it.Steff John, 28, said the dog suddenly ‘launched itself at her’ and latched onto her ear but the owner tugged on the lead which ripped it off.
The mother-of-three said the owner ran off with the dog and left her friend to carry her to safety as her ear poured with blood.Steff, of Brynmawr, south Wales, has been left with hearing difficulties after needing two operations and a skin graft, following the incident on August 16.
Police have now launched an investigation to find the owner, while Steff cries herself to sleep most nights reliving the trauma of the attack. Steff was on holiday with husband Simon at a caravan park near Brean, Somerset, when she and her friend saw the man walking with a rottweiler on a lead.
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They crossed paths at around 8.45pm and Steff asked if she could stroke the dog before she approached it.
‘We asked this gentleman if we could stroke his dog and he said fine,’ Steff said.
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‘As I went forwards it just launched itself at me. I literally just touched it.
‘The man pulled at the lead and it pulled most of my ear off.
‘I automatically grabbed my ear and I saw the blood and that was it. I fell to the floor.’
Steff said the man fled the scene and her friend carried her back to the caravan, where the group contacted site security and emergency services.
‘Everything was really a blur then,’ Steff said. ‘I just remember not hearing anything and that was all.’Steff was taken to Southmead Hospital in Bristol, where doctors attempted to save her ear but the part that had been ripped off couldn’t be safely reattached.
She has since had two operations and skin grafted from her shoulder. She is expecting another procedure in the next few weeks.
The incident has left Steff anxious about going outdoors alone and is terrified of dogs.
She now won’t be able to take up a job offer at a local school this September and is unsure whether her hearing will fully return.
‘I’m terrified of dogs now and my hair is falling out,’ she said. ‘I think it is stress. Every time I wash my hair it’s falling out in lumps.
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‘I think now it is worse than at the time. My nine-year-old doesn’t like looking at me at the moment. He asks me to keep my hair down.’
The family have been staying at the caravan because it is close to the hospital where she has been receiving treatment.Steff’s husband Simon, 48, said: ‘I think it has had a massive impact on us really. I don’t like letting her out of my sight now.
‘It is heartbreaking when she’s crying herself to sleep. She won’t go out. It’s just hard at the moment.’An Avon and Somerset Police spokeswoman said: ‘Police are investigating after a woman suffered significant injuries in a dog attack at a holiday park in Brean…
‘The dog bit the side of her face, damaging her ear. She was taken to hospital by ambulance and needs ongoing hospital treatment.
‘A man who had the dog on a lead at the time ran from the scene after the incident and left the holiday park the same day.
‘Enquiries are underway to trace him and the dog, believed to be a rottweiler-type.’