Police accused of inaction as woman mauled in dog attack

Helen Colbourne was out walking her cockapoo Digby when an off-leash chow chow knocked her to the ground and sank its teeth into her leg.

The attack in Walsall left the 50-year-old in agony with a deep, six-inch circular bite mark that has required repeated hospital treatment.

But her husband Rob said that after eventually managing to get through to police to report the attack they were told they would have to wait a few days for officers to contact them.

A call was made to the couple on July 20, four days after the attack, with a crime reference number being issued the following day – and a follow-up call from the dog unit being made on Tuesday this week.

Helen, who sent images of her injuries to the force, said she doesn’t think “they will ever come out to me” due to her having been waiting for a visit since the attack happened.

There has also been no visit to the owner of the other dog, with the victim passing on her contact information to the police during the call on Tuesday and receiving confirmation they would call her.

The 50-year-old, who has only been able to resume driving this week, said: “What I was saying to the dog’s unit lady was my concern is about that dog – what preventative measures are being taken to stop this happening again? It’s the fact there’s a dog out there that could potentially harm someone and even if it’s just a visit from someone to go and say and do something about it [that’s what I want]. It’s a nasty bite and it warrants a visit – but two weeks later and nobody has even been.”

Helen is now waiting for the officer from the dog’s unit to update her over what action will be taken.

Rob said the delay in police speaking to the owner of the other dog was putting people at serious risk, he said, and showed that the “system is broken”.

Mr Colbourne said: “Despite the horrendous bite, three visits to hospital, antibiotics, tetanus and an x-ray for a suspected broken leg, it was days before Helen was contacted by the police.

“They said the situation was dreadful and they will organise a home visit when they can. It still hasn’t happened.”

“I want to know what has to happen for the police to take this seriously?”

Mrs Colbourne was walking her dog near her home on Larkspur Way, Walsall, on July 16 when the attack happened at around 8pm.

She said the chow chow, which was not on a lead or muzzled, knocked her to the ground and bit her, before being dragged off by neighbours who had rushed out when they heard her screaming. She was rushed to hospital and Mr Colbourne says that despite repeated attempts he could not get through on 999 to report the incident.

He tried the 101 non-emergency number and was on hold for nearly an hour before giving up. By this time his wife had come out of A&E and he said they attempted to report the attack online, only to be cut off twice.

Mr Colbourne said they eventually managed to report the attack by calling 101 at 5am after his wife had woken up in severe pain.

“The owner of the chow chow was actually very apologetic after the attack happened, and quite distraught, but you would think the police would be concerned about the dog’s behaviour.”

A spokesman for West Midlands Police said: “We’re investigating after a woman was bitten on the leg by a dog in Larkspur Way, Walsall on July 16.

“She was taken to hospital for treatment, and although she wasn’t seriously injured we understand just how scary and upsetting the incident was. Unfortunately it took us longer than normal to contact the woman due to how busy we currently are, but the matter is being taken seriously. Our dangerous dog unit are leading the investigation. They’ve contacted the woman and will carry out a visit when it’s convenient for everyone.”

A spokesman for the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner said: “Our first thoughts are with Mrs Colbourne who was attacked by a dog just over a week ago. It must have a terrifying experience for her and I hope she is making a speedy recovery.

“The PCC’s office receives hundreds of emails every year, many from victims of crime, and we try to respond to each one promptly. I have checked and the response to Mr Colbourne’s enquiry has been received and is being dealt with.

“We will be sure to raise this incident with West Midlands Police to ensure her case is being handled correctly.”

1 Comment

  1. If that injury had been suffered by a police officer it would not be described as ‘not seriously injured’!

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