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Woman suffers nightmares after Norwich dog attack puts her in hospital

PUBLISHED: 10:57 15 July 2014

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A disabled woman who was left in hospital after she was attacked by a bull mastiff has described how she suffers nightmares over the “traumatic” ordeal – in the latest of a series of similar attacks in Norfolk.

Helen Carpenter, who lives on Horsford Street, was at the corner shop on Heigham Street when the dog, which was not on a lead, began growling and ran towards her.

The 40-year-old, who is 4ft 10in tall and has a partially paralysed right leg after a car accident 12 years ago, said when the dog launched itself at her she collapsed.

Mrs Carpenter said: “It showed its teeth to me and then started snarling and run towards me.

“The adrenaline kicked in and I thought the worst thing to do would be to run so I just stepped back.

“I’m so glad I fell over where I did because there are so many cars around that area,” she said.

Mrs Carpenter lost consciousness, but woke up to see the dog’s owner putting it on a lead and fleeing the scene.

The mother-of-one was taken to hospital with severe back pain, where doctors took X-rays and scans to assess the extent of her injuries.

Although the scans revealed no serious head injuries, doctors told Mrs Carpenter that she had suffered a fractured vertebra.

“I can stand for about a minute and 20 seconds now, but they are worried that the vertebra might crush if I stand up for too long which would mean surgery. I have got to be able to stand up for 10 minutes before I can leave hospital.

“I can’t sit up without a brace, I’m in so much pain,” she said.

Mrs Carpenter, who used to work as an optometrist before she was registered disabled, said the incident has left her suffering vivid nightmares.

“All I can see is him snarling and showing his teeth. Sleeping is so important at the minute, it’s the only time that I don’t hurt. It’s been so traumatic.

“I just don’t want this to happen 
to someone else – you should have 
to have your dogs on leads,” she added.

A series of dog attacks in Norfolk has led to concerns over the number of dogs not put on leads in public places.

In May, two sheep in Attleborough were attacked by a dog off its lead and required more than 60 stitches to repair their horrific wounds.

Just a few weeks later, 48-year-old Mark Marshall was left with scars 
on his knees after a Staffordshire 
bull terrier attacked him in Taverham.

On June 21, a guide dog was attacked by a Staffordshire bull terrier on King Street in Norwich. 
It is thought the dog was not on its lead.

Police are appealing for information about the latest attack.

The owner of the dog is described as tall, well dressed and in his late 30s. The dog is described as a dark brown/black bull mastiff.

PC Scott Ellis said: “I would ask for anyone who saw this incident or with information to contact police.

“This has been a distressing incident for the victim who now faces some considerable time in hospital being treated for her injury.”

If you have any information relating to Mrs Carpenter’s attack, contact PC Scott Ellis at Bethel Street Police Station on 101.

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