Sommer Sweet was trying to defend
her pet cat from the savage dog at her family home in County Down, Northern Ireland
A schoolgirl was left with 18 puncture wounds after being mauled by a German shepherd in her own home.
The dog chased Sommer Sweet’s little brother into the house and savaged her.
Brother Zach, 11, was left traumatised after watching the attack on his sister.
She needed intravenous antibiotics for five days after the ordeal in County Down, Northern Ireland.
Their mum Leah McCullough, 36, told Belfast Live : “I was walking our dog Cleo with Zach when this huge German shepherd broke out of its garden through the fence.
“It started attacking Cleo. It was such a big dog and Cleo is quite small and friendly and she just didn’t have a chance to protect herself.”
Zach kicked and jumped on the big dog to try to get it off Cleo, and thankfully he managed to stop it from being able to get his teeth into Cleo’s neck.
Leah said: “I shouted to him to run home and get help and I picked her up in my arms.
“Her leg and shoulder were all ripped and bleeding. The German shepherd’s owners came out and grabbed their dog and I started running home with Cleo and Zach was running ahead of me.
“But for some reason the owners of the other dog released it and it started chasing after Zach.
“I was screaming to him to get to safety but he just thought I was shouting for help for Cleo. There was such a panic, it was terrible.
“When Zach reached our house, he was shouting for his sister to get help for Cleo and he didn’t even know the big dog was right behind him.
When Sommer opened the front door the big dog ran in and ran into our sitting and spotted our cat Jax and went straight for him.
“Sommer flung herself between them and pushed the cat under a corner table but the big dog was snapping and snarling trying to get at the cat.
“So poor Sommer was holding the cat under the table with one hand and Jax was scrabbling at her in panic.
At the same time she was trying to hold the big dog back with her other hand to keep it away from the cat but the dog kept biting her.
“Somehow we got the German Shepherd out of the house.
“It was horrendous – Sommer’s right hand and arm were all bites, Cleo was bleeding, we were all panicked and crying.”
The dog was taken back in by its owners and was later removed by the dog warden and has since been destroyed.
Sommer, a Year 11, said: “It was a total nightmare and we were all very frightened.
“We love dogs and cats and we make sure we are safe and they are safe but this situation just spiralled out of control in a moment.
“I thought I was OK but yesterday as we were coming back home from the hospital I saw a big German shepherd being walked down the road and I started shaking.
“I suppose it will take time to get over the fright of it all.
“Cleo seems OK now but she needed nine staples on a wound on her leg and she was very bashed and bruised.
“I suffered 18 puncture wounds and I think the worst injury happened when the dog grabbed my arm and I pulled it away.
“I ended up with wounds that needed to heal and seven stitches.
“My arm is still very sore and although I can move my fingers I will need physiotherapy to get sorted when the wounds have healed.
I was more frightened for my brother Zach and for Cleo and Jax.
“And we feel really sad that the big dog has had to be put down but we found out afterwards that it was on a red card already after it bit a child last year.
“It was meant to be muzzled when out walking and kept in a secure garden but it broke out and attacked us.”
Zach said he was terrified of the dog but is heartbroken it had to be destroyed.
He added: “It’s not the fault of the dog that it did what it did.
“We are responsible for Cleo and what she does and she’s a lovely, friendly dog but we always make sure she is on a lead when we are out walking her.
“It was a very scary time and I feel bad that Sommer is still so injured and sore.
“I keep thinking about what happened and it’s horrible so I would ask all dog owners to make sure their dogs are kept under control at all times – otherwise things like this can happen
Mum Leah said: “Zach wasn’t physically hurt but he’ll have emotional scars for a very long time.
“Sommer will have the same but she may end up scarred too from the bite wounds and she’s had to endure five intravenous drips into a cannula on her arm to help fight off any infections and she will be on more antibiotics for the next few weeks.
“I feel so proud of them both. Zach and Sommer stood between that dog and their pets and ultimately saved both their lives despite being in danger themselves.
“They just reacted and it shows what good and loving hearts they have.
“That is love at its purest, that is bravery at its finest and sheer sacrifice. Because while Cleo and Jax to everyone else are just a dog and cat, to my kids, they’re family.
“It could have been a very different outcome if the dog had turned on Zach gone for somewhere other than Sommer’s hand and arm.
“We saw the terrible story on the the news on Saturday about the boy being mauled to death by a dog and the situation really hit home.”