24th December 2010, South London, UK.
The story of a woman being killed by a dog is tragic at any time of the year but all the more heart wrenching so near to Christmas. Police were called to a house in London yesterday evening where a dog was in the act of attacking a 40 year old woman. A police marksman shot the dog dead and the woman was pronounced dead at the scene around an hour later.
The attack happened inside what is presumed to be the woman's home in Wallington, Sutton, yesterday. The police have not yet named the woman as they continue to notify her relatives. What dreadful news to hear. The house has been shown on TV which makes me wonder if it was not the victim's home after all. If it was then her relatives may see the news before they are officially told.
The woman died of multiple injuries. Another person was in the house at the time of the attack but they were unharmed. A puppy was removed from the house after the attack. Belgian Mastiffs are not classified as a dangerous dog and are said to normally be calm and obedient.
The dog is only thought to have been a Belgian Mastiff as some reports say this breed of dog is extinct. There have been attempts to reintroduce the breed and so perhaps it was a strange cross breed. Belgian Mastiffs are known to grow to up to 32 inches in height and can weigh 8 stones. This means that the dog would have been a very powerful one. In their natural habitat these dogs were used to pull carts.
As a dog owner and animal lover I can only wonder what went so badly wrong. As in mankind there can be the stranger oddball dog but more often than not such an attack has some foundation behind it. All of this is academic now though and condolences go to the family. Hopefully an investigation may help prevent such occurrences in the future. RIP.
Update: The woman has been named as Barbara Williams