'Be very, very careful if you get an Akita' says woman who suffered 2-hour mauling by dog

Olivia Donnelly was mauled by a Japanese Akita dog during an attack that lasted two hours. Picture: Ciara Wilkinson

A woman who nearly lost her arm after being mauled by a ‘restricted breed’ dog has said people must not take any chances with them.

Olivia Donnelly faces another eight operations on her left arm which was ripped wide open and needed veins from her leg to help reattach blood flow to her limb.

She was mauled by a male Japanese Akita, named Bran, when he escaped into the yard of the Readypenny Inn pub near Dundalk.

Olivia said her father got Bran three years ago and he also had a female Akita. The female was gentle, socialised, and had recently had pups. Olivia was mauled as she was about to go and check on the puppies.

“He had either got out or jumped the fence and suddenly he was there. I didn’t even see him until he had my arm in his mouth. I tried to pull away and get away and then he started on my legs. I was black and blue. I have bite marks all over my body.”

When family members inside the premises realised what was going on, they tried to get Bran away from her but to no avail.

The attack lasted more than two hours.

He grabbed her left arm and “swung me all around the yard”. “I began to gradually crawl to the back door, it took two hours. At one stage he came in for a big attack again. He grabbed my leg again.Then he grabbed my [left] arm and I could see him ripping it and I could see it in his mouth.

“I dropped to the ground to play dead. It was 20 minutes until I moved. He noticed I was moving and he went for my arm again. I don’t know how I did it but I looked the dog in the eyes and said, ‘Bran, I have had it’.

A Japanese Akita dog is a restricted breed that have ‘power in their jaws’ and ‘can go off like bombs’, says vet Garrett Shine.
A Japanese Akita dog is a restricted breed that have ‘power in their jaws’ and ‘can go off like bombs’, says vet Garrett Shine.

“After that he never touched me and I dragged myself to the back door.”

Olivia has no memory of what happened from the time she got to safety in the kitchen until she woke up in Beaumont Hospital. She said doctors saved her left arm. “He had ripped every artery out of my arm and all my veins so everything had to be put back in from my leg into my arm. I am very lucky to have my arm.”

She has extensive stitching to her left leg as well as her right arm and has had three skin grafts so far on her left arm and will need eight operations next year. “I thought I was dead. The doctors said if I was there 20 minutes longer there was nothing they could have done because I had lost so much blood.”

Olivia now wants to warn people about the potential dangers of Akita dogs. “They look like cute wee teddy bears but they were trained bear killers. It is in their genes, it is their instinct. Be very, very careful if you get an Akita.”

Olivia Donnelly was mauled by a Japanese Akita dog during an attack that lasted two hours. Picture: Ciara Wilkinson
Olivia Donnelly was mauled by a Japanese Akita dog during an attack that lasted two hours. Picture: Ciara Wilkinson

Louth county vet Garrett Shine said: “Any dog can bite but there is a reason why the list of restricted breeds was drawn up and it is because if they go ‘wrong’ they go seriously wrong.”

He said restricted breeds “have power in their jaws” and ”can go off like bombs”.


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