Brave Abbie recounts horror of dog mauling that left her with 17 stitches on face

By David Raleigh

A six-year-old girl has spoken of her horror of being savagely mauled by a dog.

Speaking from her home in Limerick this morning Abbie Cuddihy said every time she closes her eyes she remembers the brutal attack and sees the dog snarling at her.

The horrific attack on Wednesday last left her with 17 stitches across her forehead and bite marks along her body.

Abbie Cuddihy who received 17 stitches to her face and neck after a dog attack near her home. Pic: Press 22

Her family said she was lucky not to have been killed.

Speaking from her home in Lynwood Park, Abbie said: "Every time I close my eyes I keep seeing it happening again and again."

"I'm feeling a bit sore on my head and my arm."

She was playing on a green area near her home at around 6.30pm when the gruesome attack unfolded.

Abbie explained that she went to rub the dog -- believed to be an American Akita -- when it snarled at her and then grabbed her in its powerful jaws.

"I went over to rub the dog and then he growled at me, and then I rubbed him again and he attacked me."

"It was just really really fast and I felt really scared."

The terrified girl was saved by a nurse who brought her home.

"My mam was crying and I was calming her down a bit," Abbie added bravely.

She was taken to University Hospital Limerick where the doctors and nurses "were really nice," the girl said.

Her mother Donna, also praised medical staff who treated her daughter: "The doctors and nurses were absolutely brilliant. They were fantastic."

Donna added: "I was at home, in the kitchen, and she was brought over to me by a neighbour. (She was) pumping bleeding and there was a tissue on her head."

"I opened the door and (I) started screaming when I saw her."

"The neighbour told me to calm down, and that it was 'grand'. So, I went over (to Abbey) and I pulled the tissue back from her head and I saw she was split open. I got worse, and then (my) mam came down the stairs and she was screaming."

The family contacted gardaí and then rushed Abbie to hospital where they were seen to immediately by doctors.

Donna said her daughter will be scarred for life.

"She's scarred for life. She will be, she got seventeen stitches on her face, and look how close it is to her eye. She could have lost her eye. Anything could have happened, if the dog didn't walk away."

"Her shoulder is all (marked). Her arm is punctured, her shoulder has bite marks in it."

Donna added: "We're very lucky. I was holding her in my arms the other night (in hospital) and I said, 'I'm so lucky to have her in my arms'. It could have been a lot worse. He (dog) could have killed her stone dead."

"We're lucky, but it shouldn't have happened. I'm actually going mad over it."

Abbie Cuddihy (centre) with Anthony Johnston and Donna Cuddihy at their home in Lynwood Park, Limerick. Pic: Press 22

Mrs Cuddihy added: "The gardaí have been out to see us. The dog has been put down. The dog did it. And, rightly so the dog is 'put down'.

"We have two dogs ourselves. We love dogs, we love animals, we have two (dogs)."

"She (Abbie) loves dogs and she wouldn't go out of her way to get a dog into trouble if he did nothing to her. She wouldn't lie," she added.

After Abbie was let out of hospital she was met at home by her own two little family pet dogs who licked her face when she came through the front door.

She said they were now helping her get through her horrific ordeal.

"Yeah, they were licking me. They're really really nice and they're so cute," she said sweetly.

Gardaí believe the dog -- which has since been destroyed by a vet -- is an American Akita.

Gardaí from Henry Street assisted by the Limerick Dog Warden immediately rounded up the dog and it was humanely destroyed.

Garda investigations are continuing into the attack, and a file is expected to be prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.

GRAPHIC IMAGE: Abbie's injury before treatment.

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