WARNING: CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES
A woman who almost lost her arm in a dog attack has said she believes licenses should be brought back to make things ‘safer for everyone’.
Rachel Anderson, 43, was babysitting for a friend in 2018 when their pet Husky, Storm, suddenly began biting her face and mauling her arm in a terrifying 45-minute attack.
Four years on, Anderson’s wounds have mostly healed – although she is still not able to use her hand properly – but she says the psychological impact has been devastating, admitting she ‘cries from fear’ whenever she hears a dog growl.
She is now calling for tighter regulations on dog owners after a woman in Surrey was fatally attacked by a group of dogs last week.
Anderson, from Lincoln, Lincolnshire, said: “I believe dog attacks are down to the owners, not the dogs. It's down to the environment they live in.
"Dog licences would make the country safer for everyone - it would stop people having too many or having them for the wrong reasons.
"Any normal person who genuinely cares for their dog wouldn't mind getting a dog licence.
"If you're at the park and you know everyone else has a dog licence, you know you'll be safer and so will your dog.
"Dog licences will make sure people who shouldn't have dogs, don't have them.
"What's stopping that woman who owned the dog that attacked me from going and buying another puppy?"
The stay-at-home mum, who lives with husband Wayne, 46, had been looking after her friend’s two children when the dog attacked her.
The dog, which she said would normally be kept outside, locked its jaws on her face before biting her arm, with Anderson recalling how she could see ‘blood everywhere’.
“I could see my face out the corner of my eye,” she said.
“My arm was all ripped open. I could see skin and fat everywhere.
"I remember it dragging me side to side, by the arm. At one stage I thought it was going to release me, but it was treating me like a chew toy."
Anderson was only able to get free when one of the kids stabbed the pet with a knife on the counter.
After police were called, officers then shot the animal dead.
Anderson claimed she needed several operations, but thankfully, surgeons were able to save her arm when they sewed it inside her stomach for four weeks to get new skin to grow back.
The former hairdresser said the damage to the limb means she’ll likely never return to the profession, adding that she also still feels ‘a wave of fear’ whenever she hears a dog growl.
People are now calling for the re-introduction of a system of licensing for dog owners in the UK, in the wake the brutal dog attack in Surrey last week that killed one woman and injured another.
Anderson said she is in favour of such a system, which has not been used for dog owners in the UK since 1987, saying: “Most dogs don't naturally want to attack - it's either what they're shown to do, or they don't know any better."
She continued: "If there's more of a registering and licensing system in place, when you're out you know it's safer for everyone.
"I don’t believe it is down to the dog, it is down to owners. If treated right, any breed can be good. It’s the owners, and the environment it is in."
Anderson thinks ‘everyone should have a dog license’, saying 'genuine dog lovers’ would find no issue with getting one.
"It would just make sure people who shouldn’t have dogs, don’t have them - and if they do, they should be held responsible for them,” she added.
"If your child does something wrong at school you as a parent have to deal with that, they're under your protection.
"You're the one that took on the responsibility - you have to take consequences for its actions.
"It shouldn't be any different with owning dogs."
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