A dog walker was mauled to death as a group of eight dogs she was hired to look after set upon her like a “pack of wolves”. The 28-year-old woman, who is from London, was attacked in Caterham, near Croydon, on Thursday (January 12).
According to a witness, the attack started when one of the dogs bit a fellow dog walker before turning on the 28-year-old woman, causing the rest of the dogs to follow suit “like a pack of small wolves”. Paramedics battled to save her life but she died at the scene. The woman who was bitten first was taken to hospital for treatment but was later discharged.
Two horse riders who were at the scene with the victim as she was dying.
Eight dogs have been detained and are being kept in kennels while an investigation takes place. It has been reported that none of the dogs involved in the attack were banned breeds and the pack included two dachshunds and a leonberger.
A Surrey Police spokesperson said: “Sadly, despite best efforts of paramedics, a woman in her twenties was pronounced dead at the scene. Although formal identification is yet to take place, her next of kin have been informed and are being supported by specialist officers.
“A second woman is in hospital receiving treatment for dog bites. Her condition is not life-threatening. Armed officers, with support from the National Police Air Service, detained a total of seven dogs at the scene and they are in police custody. Several road closures are in place around Gravelley Hill and officers remain at the scene.
Chief Inspector Alan Sproston added: “Our thoughts are with the family of the woman who sadly died. This incident will be concerning to the local community and I would like to reassure them that we believe all dogs have been accounted for and are in police custody. Our investigation to establish the circumstances of the incident remains ongoing and we would ask the community not to speculate.”
Detective Inspector Josephine Horner, senior investigating officer, said: “This is a tragic incident where a young woman has sadly lost her life. Our thoughts remain with her family and friends and the family have asked that their privacy is respected at this difficult time.
“Specialist teams have been carrying out forensic work at the scene but this has now been completed and the area has re-opened to the public. I know this incident has caused real concerns locally and officers from the local neighbourhood team will be out in the area to provide reassurance for residents.
“The investigation to establish the circumstances around this incident continue and I urge anyone with information who has not yet spoken to police to contact us.”
Richard Bream, who runs the nearby Mardens Kennels, said he had never heard of a dog attack in the area before.
He said: “That particular area, View Point, is an area where professional dog walkers will turn up in their van and take the dogs out and walk them. I’ve always felt you see some of these dog walkers have five or six, and they shouldn’t be able to do that.”
A man at an address near the scene, who asked not to be named, said the beauty spot was very popular with dog walkers. He said: “The dogs dispersed into different areas of the woods and the police helicopter was out looking for them.”
A woman walking a border collie past one of the police cordons, who asked not to be named, said she was shocked by the incident. She said: “It’s a nice circular woodland walk and we’ve never had any issues before. It is so shocking, normal dogs surely wouldn’t do that.”