Councillor in dog attack ordeal

Coun Joyce Sanders had part of her finger bitten off by a dog while leafletting (Picture by Dean Atkins)
Coun Joyce Sanders had part of her finger bitten off by a dog while leafletting (Picture by Dean Atkins)
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A Staffordshire Bull Terrier bit and ripped off the end of a councillor’s finger when she was delivering leaflets door-to-door.

Coun Joyce Sanders and a friend were canvassing for the upcoming elections down a street in her Churwell ward when the dog attacked.

I could see this Staffy. His jaw was clamped on my hand. He was pulling me in, the whole of my hand was going in the letter box.

Coun Sanders

Coun Sanders, of Elland Road, said: “We were delivering as we normally do house-to-house. I went to put the leaflet in and I felt something tug.

“I got a terrible searing pain. I looked down through the letter box and I could see this Staffy. His jaw was clamped on my hand. He was pulling me in, the whole of my hand was going in the letter box. It was unbelievable”

The next thing she knew, the dog had bitten the top of her middle right finger off to the first knuckle, which remained in her leather glove that laid on the ground inside the house.

Panic-stricken Coun Sanders called to her friend to knock on the door, where the dog’s mortified owner locked the Staffy in the lounge and helped to clear blood with towels after calling an ambulance.

“She came to the door and she didn’t even know – the dog was so quiet,” she said.

But to add to the chaos, emergency services did not turn up for an hour – when two First Response teams arrived at the same time, followed by an ambulance.

“I was waiting so long I went into shock,” Coun Sanders said.

Paramedics put the the finger in liquid solution and rushed her to Leeds General Infirmary, where she was operated on. Though she was hoping her finger could be saved, this is unlikely. “It’s too badly mauled,” she added.

Now recovering with weekly medical checks and physiotherapy, Coun Sanders wants to issue a warning to all fellow councillors who are planning to deliver leaflets in the run-up to May 7.

“I’m not doing it anymore. I’ve done it for years and years,” she said. The councillor also wants owners of pets which are thought to be aggressive to put a cage around their letter box and a “beware of the dog” notice on the door.

Police have ordered the owner of the dog which attacked her to do this.

Coun Sanders was shocked to find out that she was not the only councillor to lose part of her finger electioneering. Derbyshire county Councillor Jean Innes suffered a similar grisly attack last month, when the top of her middle finger was also bitten off by a dog through a letter box.