Grandmother savaged to death in dog attack by American bulldogs

Grandmother, 65, was savaged to death in a dog attack after ‘trying to break up a fight between two American bulldogs before one turned on her’

  • Ann Dunn, 65, was found collapsed with ‘catastrophic injuries’ at Liverpool home
  • She owned five American bulldogs, a Jack Russell-crossbreed and a Labrador

A grandmother killed in a dog attack is likely to have been trying to break up a fight between two American bulldogs before one turned on her, an inquest has heard.

Ann Dunn, 65, was found collapsed with ‘catastrophic injuries’ at her Liverpool home she shared with seven dogs on October 3 last year, the hearing at the Gerard Majella Courthouse was told today.

Senior coroner for Liverpool and Wirral Andre Rebello said: ‘She was looking after family dogs at her home. More likely than not she separated two dogs from fighting, securing one in the kitchen.

‘The other dog has then attacked her, causing severe, fatal injuries.’

Mrs Dunn, whose occupation was given as domestic, had been due to collect her grandchild from school in the afternoon of October 3 last year and when she did not turn up family members went to her home in St Brigid’s Crescent, Kirkdale.

Ann Dunn (pictured), 65, was found collapsed with ‘catastrophic injuries’ most likely caused by trying to break up a fight between two American bulldogs before one turned on her

Mr Rebello said: ‘They’ve looked through the letterbox and saw Ann lying in the hallway, unresponsive and she was in a pool of blood with blood on her body.’

The inquest, attended by Mrs Dunn’s siblings, heard she was pronounced dead by paramedics at about 4.30pm.

Reading police reports, Mr Rebello said there were five adult American bulldogs, belonging to Mrs Dunn’s son Stephen, living in the house, as well as a Jack Russell-crossbreed and a 10-week-old Labrador.

On the day of her death, her son left the house shortly after 5am, when he said all the dogs were fine, and her husband, Stephen senior, left for work at 6.40am.

The court heard Mr Dunn junior said the dogs had not been violent towards humans before, although about eight months before his mother’s death two of the adult males, Cairo and Bronx, began fighting with each other and he was injured while trying to separate them.

At 1.20pm, Mrs Dunn phoned her son and said she was going to let Bronx out of the bedroom, where he had been kept, because he had been crying.

He advised her to keep the dog separate from Cairo so the two dogs did not fight, the inquest heard.

The hearing at the Gerard Majella Courthouse (pictured) was told that Mrs Dunn’s cause of death was multiple dog bite injuries

Mr Dunn junior was arrested on suspicion of being the owner of a dog dangerously out of control at 5.50pm that day and told officers: ‘My mum’s just died, you have no respect.’

When interviewed he provided a prepared statement in which he denied breeding dogs or having a website advertising dog breeding.

He said all dogs were chipped and registered but refused to provide chip details, the inquest was told.

He agreed to sign over the five adult bulldogs to police and they were euthanised, Mr Rebello said.

Following advice from the Crown Prosecution Service, no further action was taken against Mr Dunn Junior.

A post-mortem found Mrs Dunn’s cause of death was multiple dog bite injuries, the inquest heard. 

In a statement, detective inspector Katie Coot said: ‘It appeared Ann was at her home alone. At approximately 1.20pm she contacted her son and appeared safe and well. She advised him she intended to let Bronx out as he was crying. At the time, it was believed Cairo was loose in the house.

‘At some point prior to 4.07pm when Ann should have collected her grandchild, she had allowed Bronx out. 

‘It appears Bronx has then attacked Cairo and I believe Ann has intervened in this attack and moved Cairo away to the kitchen. I believe that Ann was attacked by Bronx while separating them.’ 

She added: ‘Bronx has then subjected Ann to a sustained and significant attack consisting of biting, crushing, shaking movements, causing catastrophic injuries to multiple parts of her body. 

‘She has collapsed in the hallway and died of her injuries, likely losing consciousness prior to this point.’

Mr Rebello recorded a narrative verdict into her death, telling the inquest he did not consider it an accident or misadventure.

He added: ‘These are very, very powerful animals and the amount of damage caused to Ann is so significant I can’t even begin to describe it in court.

‘Hopefully people will be aware that dogs of this size are probably not best kept in this number in a domestic setting.’

He said it was not against the law, but ‘not everything has to be against the law to be unwise’.

Following her death, Mrs Dunn’s family described her as a ‘one in a million mum’.

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