A woman suffered broken ribs, a punctured lung and needed stitches to her face after being mauled by cows while walking her dog.
Dog groomer and self-confessed ‘animal lover’ Jacqui Beale was on her usual route when she was charged by the cattle which were recently named the most dangerous large animal in the UK.
She said: “I took the dog for a walk on the field I go on twice a day – there’s a public footpath there. As I approached the field there was cattle near the stile so I put the dog on a lead.
“I saw no calves, only cows but, as I walked along, I suddenly saw the calves lying down. I kept to one side away from them but the bigger cows just came for me.
“The dog was on a lead but they weren’t going for the dog, they came for me and knocked me over. I was bashed about by about eight cows. I remember being tossed from one to another and thinking I wasn’t going to survive. All I could hear was snorting and breathing, it was terrifying.”
Somehow managing to get herself back over the stile and out of danger, the 48-year-old stumbled to nearby houses where occupants raised the alarm. She spent several days in hospital where she was treated for broken ribs, a punctured lung, fractured collar bone and chipped shoulder blade. She also needed stitches above her eye following the attack in May this year.
Cows grazing in a field seem like the image of tranquility hence why people assume there’s no threat. Indeed, they are very docile animals, often unbothered by people walking in their fields. However, when they have calves it’s a different story.
The day after the incident Jacqui, who lives in Wirksworth, Derbyshire, says signs went up around the field warning of cows and calves. However, she still fears that walkers may not be prepared for potential attacks.
She added: “If I had had a child with me or had been an old person who couldn’t get out of the field, it would have been even worse. You wouldn’t expect it but cows move really fast.
“This has left me really scared. I respect animals and have always kept my dog on a lead but that wasn’t enough. I live in the countryside surrounded by lovely fields but I’m too scared to go near them now. There are lots of popular walks near me but if you do them you risk being mauled.”
And Jacqui’s case is not unique.
Grandfather Mike Pace continues to suffer the effects of a cow attack last August. He is still in the process of having his leg reconstructed after being trampled and says he thought he was going to die. Similar to Jacqui, Mike is taking legal action against the land owner, owner of the cows and camp site because they failed to put signs up warning that there were cows with calves in the field.
The dad-of-four and wife Gill had been walking along a public footpath while on a camping holiday in Abersoch when the incident took place.
“We followed the footpath and after a few minutes we came across some cows. We thought this can’t be right,” said Mike.
“We turned around and went in the opposite direction towards a gate but the cows started following us. Gill asked if we should run and I said no as it may cause a stampede. We tried not to look behind us but as we got to the gate we saw that it just led into another large field.”
Panicking, the couple turned around to see more cows had joined the herd.
He added: “There were around 30 cows behind us and Gill then noticed they had calves. As we started to walk the other way, this black bullock that had been staring looking menacing charged me and threw me up in the air and then the other cattle just started trampling me. The black bullock started lifting its back legs off the ground and trampling me. While on the floor I had a conversation with myself thinking I was going to die. I told myself I’d had a good life.”
Gill managed to escape uninjured but the attack on Mike only ended when three men who had been passing armed themselves with sticks and surrounded him forcing the cows to retreat.
Mike, 55, was then admitted to hospital where he was treated for numerous injuries. He spent over a month in hospital and is still in the process of having his leg painfully reconstructed which involves “stretching” his bone, rotating his leg and taking muscle from his back and using it in his calf.
He added: “I was thinking I could try to shout and scare them away or pretend to be dead. I did the latter. I could see that my legs were mashed – I could see all the bone and muscle and I thought if I tried to drag myself out they’d come off.”
The grandad-of-five who lives in Huddersfield and is a manager at BMW, is now limited to sitting in his office as his leg is still in a frame and he has to use crutches to walk.
He added: “I used to be up at 5am taking the dogs for a run for 40 minutes, I’d then go to the gym, all before work in the morning. However, since August the furthest I’ve walked is five to ten minutes.
“I just get so down that my wife and I had all these plans for when the kids left home. We were going to go on four holidays a year and buy a nice lodge with a Jacuzzi. I’ve gone from that - a man who was quite fit for his age - to someone who can’t even walk to the shop.”
Sally Gray, a personal injury specialist at Slater and Gordon has spoken out about the high number of cases of people being hurt by cows she deals with every year.
She is representing a number of clients who have been injured by cattle and said: “Cows grazing in a field seem like the image of tranquility hence why people assume there’s no threat. Indeed, they are very docile animals, often unbothered by people walking in their fields. However, when they have calves it’s a different story.
“Around this time of year we get lots of cases relating to injuries caused by cows - some very nasty and potentially fatal. Recent data shows that cows are the most dangerous large animals in the UK and, when it comes to public liability and the risk owed to the public, farmers have been advised not to put calves and their mothers in fields that are open to the public together.
“Owners of animals that have the potential to cause serious injury need to make sure they’re kept in suitable areas.”