I bent down to pat a dog after its owner told me it was friendly – now my face is scarred for life

A WOMAN had her face mauled and was scarred for life after she bent down to pet a dog when its owner assured her it was friendly.

Sam Lodge, 53, was left with serious facial injuries after she touched the whippet-like dog with the owner's permission while walking home in Grimsby.

The hound savagely mauled her face on April 1 – exposing the cartilage on her nose and causing serious nerve damage.

She now fears she'll never get the feeling back in her face after already having a number of operations to grow the skin back.

Despite the horror ordeal, Sam loves dogs and says that she doesn't want the animal to be put down – despite the recent increase in dog mauling in the UK.

Speaking about the terror mauling, Sam told GrimsbyLive: "I was out walking and I'd nearly got back to my house when I came across the dog.


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"I love dogs and have always fussed or petted them whenever I've come across them.

"I asked if the dog was friendly and the owner told me they were so I bent down to pet it.

"It was at that point the dog went for me, nothing like this has ever happened to me before.

"At first, I just thought the dog had headbutted me and it wasn't until I got home and washed my face that I realised exactly what had happened. It came as quite a shock."

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"If it was a little kid, there could have been much more damage – it clearly wasn't safe." 

Sam went to hospital – where they checked out her injuries and she was taken to have extensive surgery.

And with 16 stitches on her face and now not being able to work, Sam says she wishes she could turn back time.

She said: "They took a flap of skin off my hairline and attached it to the bridge of my nose.

"They then twisted my nose to help the skin take to it. I've got 16 stitches in my face and I'm now waiting for it to start healing.

"I've been told it could be 18 months before I get any feeling back in my head and I might never.

"I don't go out as much at the minute because it's painful for me to walk around in the wind.

"I've got another operation in around three weeks to try and make me look normal again. If I'm honest, I'd like to turn back time.

"I'm getting bored of not being in work and I'm really hoping I can highlight to others that they need to make sure dogs are safe before people pet them."

A spokesperson from Humberside Police said: "The owner of the dog is described as around 5'7" tall of slim build and in her early 50s.

"She was wearing glasses, dark clothing and a hoody. The dog is described as a medium sized, whippet type cross.

"We would appeal for the owner of this dog to come forward. We would also ask that if anyone was in the area at the time of the incident that has information that would help with our enquiries, please call us on our non-emergency number 101 quoting reference 16/43260/22."

This comes after reports of multiple dog attacks around the UK – causing death in many instances.

Animal welfare experts have blamed the UK’s dog mauling epidemic on lockdown “impulse buys” – as the rise in killer cases has more than doubled.

An RSPCA dog specialist believes that the increase of Brits buying puppies in the last two years could have caused the high rates of fatal dog attacks.

Recently, a two-year-old boy died after being attacked by a dog in Worcester, and an 8-year-old boy was rushed to hospital after being bitten on the face in Cannock weeks ago.

And baby Bella-Rae Birch, one, was killed by her family’s pet dog in St Helens, Merseyside, which had been purchased a week before.

Last month, three-month-old Kyra Leanne King was mauled to death by an “out of control” husky at a beauty spot in Lincolnshire.

Jack Lis, 10, died after being attacked by an American bully dog at a house in Pentwyn, Penyrheol in November last year.

In March, Stephen Joynes, 36, was jailed for four years after his Chow Chow Alsatian-cross mauled his 12-day-old baby Elon Jase Ellis-Joynes to death at their home in Doncaster last year.

Nine-year-old Frankie MacRitchie, from Plymouth, was on a caravan holiday in Cornwall when he was killed by an American bulldog cross Staffordshire bull terrier in April 2019.

The attacks have led to calls for an overhaul of the Dangerous Dogs Act, which dates back to 1991 and criminalises ownership of four breeds.

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It is currently illegal to own a Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino and a Fila Brasileiro in the UK.

But the RSPCA are calling for a change in legislation to the act, and are “strongly opposed” to any “breed specific legislation."

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