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Case of the missing finger

By Newsdesk
Case of the missing finger

A WOMAN has told a court of her horror when she was putting a leaflet through a letter box and found her hand grabbed - and after struggling to pull it free saw the top of her finger had been torn off and the bone protruding through.

Eunice Larkins, 51, said that as she had desperately pulled to free her hand at the low level letterbox she heard growling like that of a dog playing with a toy and refusing to let it go.

In the court at Dumfries last Friday, Sheila McNeill, 65, of Barkerland Avenue, Dumfries, pleaded not guilty to being the owner of a dog which was dangerously out of control in March last year and which bit the top off the finger.
Mrs Larkins said she had been delivering leaflets for a loan company as a favour when the incident happened.
She was taken to Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary and underwent surgery the following day where a further part of the finger had to be taken off. Even now she was still suffering pain and the prospect of a further operation.
She told fiscal depute Jennifer McGill that she had been with her sister at the time and said: “I was in a panic and crying.
“My sister took her shirt off and wrapped it round my hand and took me to the hospital; I still have to take painkillers because of it.”
Two postmen told the court that Mrs McNeill’s address was on a list for animal hazards with advice that mail should be put through the letterbox at the end of a plastic peg.
One of them said: “The dog there goes mental and rips up letters.”
But Mrs McNeill claimed in evidence that she had had the three-year-old cross collie Cullen for nearly three years since he was 11 months old and claimed he was not a biter or she would have had him put down.
She added that he had been in the lounge all that evening and had never barked and the first she knew of any incident was when her husband went to the door and found the finger tip lying there.
She said: “He had opened the door and when he saw it asked what it was, then brought it and put it on the ironing board and it was then we saw it was a fingertip and reported it to the police.
“We didn’t know how it got there or what had happened.”
She went on to point out that the dog had a gold certificate in training and had never given them any problem.
Mrs McNeill added that she didn’t know of any problem with postmen and Cullen only sometimes brought the mail to them, though there were occasions when a relative’s dog sometimes stayed with them and it was known to chew up mail.
She stressed she had not heard anyone at the door that evening and Cullen had been in the lounge all night and no other dog was there.
She felt the finger might have been caught in the flap which had a strong spring.
The trial will continue next month.


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