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A woman has been left facially scarred for life and will need several surgical procedures after being mauled by a dog she was told was friendly.
Sam Lodge, 53, was walking home on Weelsby Street South, Grimsby on Friday, April 1, when she came across a woman walking a whippet-like dog.
She asked if it was okay to pet the animal and was told the dog was friendly.
But when she bent down to stroke it, she was savagely mauled in the face, exposing the cartilage on her nose and leaving her with serious injuries.
Sam, who loves dogs, has already had a number of operations to her face to try and grow the skin back but she has been warned the feeling in her face may never return due to the nerve damage she has suffered.
She said: "I was out walking and I'd nearly got back to my house when I came across the dog. I love dogs and have always fussed or petted them whenever I've come across them.
"I asked if the dog was friendly and the owner told me they were so I bent down to pet it. It was at that point the dog went for me, nothing like this has ever happened to me before.
"At first, I just thought the dog had headbutted me and it wasn't until I got home and washed my face that I realised exactly what had happened. It came as quite a shock."
Sam says she doesn't want the dog put down, but hopes the owner can learn to put a muzzle on it or stop people from getting too close.
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She explained: “I’d hate to see the dog put to sleep, I love dogs. I just want people to be more careful and tell people if their dog is not safe. If it was a little kid, there could have been much more damage – it clearly wasn't safe."
After the incident, Sam went to the hospital to get herself checked out and was told that she'd need extensive surgery to rectify her injuries.
She said: "They took a flap of skin off my hairline and attached it to the bridge of my nose.
"They then twisted my nose to help the skin take to it. I've got 16 stitches in my face and I'm now waiting for it to start healing.
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"I've been told it could be 18 months before I get any feeling back in my head and I might never. I don't go out as much at the minute because it's painful for me to walk around in the wind.
"I've got another operation in around three weeks to try and make me look normal again. If I'm honest, I'd like to turn back time.
"I'm getting bored of not being in work and I'm really hoping I can highlight to others that they need to make sure dogs are safe before people pet them."
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Humberside Police have since launched an appeal to find the owner of the dog as a spokesperson said: "The owner of the dog is described as around 5'7" tall of slim build and in her early 50s.
"She was wearing glasses, dark clothing and a hoody. The dog is described as a medium-sized, whippet type cross. We would appeal for the owner of this dog to come forward.
"We would also ask that if anyone was in the area at the time of the incident that has information that would help with our enquiries, please call us on our non-emergency number 101 quoting reference 16/43260/22."
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