Scottish pensioner relives horror of being ravaged by giant French mastiff


Scottish pensioner today relived the horror of being wild by a giant French mastiff identical to the dog that played in the Tom Hanks film Turner and Hooch.

The adult animal demolished the fence of its owner’s garden, ran along a path connecting a row of terraced houses, and rushed at Marion Whyte over her garden gate, a to research understood.

The powerfully built beast sunk its teeth into the 70-year-old woman’s forearm, ripping strips of her flesh and causing two large gashes and multiple puncture wounds.

The injuries left the frail retiree scarred for life.

Dog owner Helen Brown of Livingston, West Lothian, was fined £ 240 and banned from owning or keeping dogs for five years after pleading guilty to letting the Mastiff and another dog get out of hand.

The 42-year-old mother admitted to Livingston Sheriff Court that the animals were not kept on a leash during the incident on September 22, 2019 and that one of them – the French Mastiff – bit Ms Whyte in his serious injury and permanent disfigurement.

Ms Whyte recounted how the two dogs ran along a path from the row of townhouses to Heatherbank, Ladywell, where she was tending a litter of La-Chon puppies, ‘designer dogs’ from a Bichon Frisé crossed with a Lhassa Apso.

As she leaned forward to protect her small dogs in her front garden, she said the female Mastiff rushed over to her and clenched her jaws around her right arm, sinking her teeth deep into her skin and tearing off two strips of its flesh as it ravaged it. .

She said: “I didn’t know their dogs were out, but mine started barking when they came out. I went to see what my dogs were barking and I could see the two dogs knocking over Helen’s almost broken fence.

“They came running into my garden. The one that bit me was a very big adult bitch.

The scar left on Marion’s arm

“I had to be pretty close to the door and as the dog walked past her she grabbed my arm. It was funny because I didn’t realize I had been bitten even though I was sort of in shock.

“When I realized I had been bitten, I called my niece Samantha, 30, and she came out and took me into the house. My son Ian, who is 40, picked up one of the puppy floor mats and wrapped it around my arm.

“There wasn’t a lot of blood, it was just a gaping wound. I said to my husband ‘You have to take me to the hospital!’ Her car was parked in front of Helen and she was in her backyard.

“I said, ‘Your dog just tore my arm off.’ She really didn’t say anything. She didn’t apologize then and she hasn’t apologized since.

She said she was more worried about her six puppies when she was attacked. She explained, “I put them in the front garden to train them at home and normally the children come to play with them.

“It’s also good that there were no children that day.”

Ms Whyte was treated with antibiotics at St John’s Hospital in Livingston and had arm surgery to clean and stitch up the gaping wounds on her forearm.

Shortly after she was released from the hospital, her arm turned red and began to swell because the dog bites got infected and she had to return to the accident and emergency room for further treatment.

She was put on a drip of antibiotics before having a second operation to treat the infection.

She described her arm as “a horrible mess” and said she suffered permanent scarring and nerve damage from the attack.

James Walker, defending Helen Brown, called the incident “very unfortunate” and admitted that Ms Whyte’s injuries were very serious.

He said: “Because my client is a responsible dog owner and recognizes that the dog’s behavior was completely inappropriate, she had the animal in question destroyed.

“This process was very upsetting and particularly distressing for Ms. Brown’s family, knowing that her dog had caused such harm to the Complainant.

“She recognizes that the stress and pressures she has endured have little significance in relation to the complainant’s injuries. The court has restitution and restraining orders.

Sentence Pronunciation Sheriff Douglas Kinloch said that a conviction under section 3 of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 was a charge that could result in a custodial sentence.

He said he limited the fine to £ 240 to take account of the accused’s limited income, but made no mention of any compensation order in favor of Ms Whyte.

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