Northern Ireland

Co Down dog attack victim almost lost his life, says surgeon

Alastair Brown with dog attack victim Steven Cull. Picture from BBC
Alastair Brown with dog attack victim Steven Cull. Picture from BBC Alastair Brown with dog attack victim Steven Cull. Picture from BBC

A man who had to have his arm amputated after being attacked by a dog in Co Down almost lost his life, a surgeon has said. 

Steven Cull (48) underwent life-saving surgery following the attack in Banbridge in October.

Plastic surgeon Alistair Brown, who was among the medics who fought to save his life, said the victim's injuries were among the worst he had seen.

 "Both his arms, both his legs were severely mangled by the dog and we had to make a decision very early on to save his life," he told the BBC.

"We were able to salvage both of his legs and one of his arms.

"Unfortunately the other one was just too badly damaged.

"This was extreme. This was as severe as it gets."

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Recalling the ordeal, Mr Cull told of how he tried to fight the dog off after it pounced on him.

"The dog was circling me and even trying to stretch its mouth over my head at one stage," he said.

The animal, which he believes was an "XXL bully mixed with a mastiff", took "chunks" out of his legs.

Mr Cull was taken to Craigavon Hospital and then the Ulster Hospital for surgery.

"If it had been a baby or a skinnier person, they'd have been done for," he added

"The poison of the dog saliva was running through my veins… my organs started to shut down … I don't know how they brought me back after that."

Mr Cull spent two months in hospital after the attack. 

Mr Brown said Mr Cull's attitude since the attack "is an example to us all".

"He has been able to get through this to some degree but no matter what, the arm is lost," he said.

The dog involved has since been put down.