The heartbroken boyfriend of a mother savaged to death by her pet American bulldogs said the animals were ‘never aggressive’ as friends say they could have been ‘spooked’ by a row between the 44-year-old and her daughter, 21.
Police were called to the terraced property of mother-of-three Elayne Stanley in Widnes, Cheshire, at 5.15pm on Tuesday after the two huge dogs, DJ and Billy, attacked her.
A friend told how the frenzied animals could have unleashed the attack after an argument between Elayne and daughter Louise, before biting the part-time care assistant, who could not be saved and ‘bled out’ at the scene.
Neighbours said Elayne’s partner of four years Paul Leigh, who she didn’t live with, owned the animals but speaking at his home in Runcorn, Cheshire, yesterday evening, father-of-four Paul said they belonged to her.
Paul Leigh (right) says that the dogs were never aggressive before they attacked Elayne Stanley (left)
Ms Stanley had posted photos of two dogs (pictured) online. Today her heartbroken partner said that he’d never seen them being aggressive
Mr Leigh, a full-time carer for his son, said: ‘Elayne and her daughter Louise were having an argument but I don’t know exactly what happened, the police are still investigating.
‘Billy and DJ were both Elayne’s dogs, she’s had them since they were basically pups. The dogs were never aggressive or acted like this, I can’t believe it, I never thought I’d be putting my partner in the ground.
‘We’ve been together four years and we’re both dog lovers. I was two minutes from seeing my dad in a coma when I got the call.’
Close friend Bev Hall, 39, paid tribute to her friend of 22 years, who was godmother to her daughters, and revealed she and partner Jay attempted to distract the frenzied animals before Elayne ‘bled out’ in her living room from her injuries.
Police were scrambled to the property after a call from ambulance paramedics who found part time care assistant Elayne, who also had twin 12-year-old daughters, in a serious condition and attempted to treat her before she died at the scene.
DJ was shot at the house after officers’ attempts to detain and tranquilise him were unsuccessful and Billy remains in a secure kennel, police confirmed.
A woman died in this residential street in Widnes, Cheshire following a dog attack, police said
Bev, who lives opposite Elayne, said: ‘Elayne was at home with her daughters, she was arguing with her daughter.
‘We were here putting the tea on and the next thing her daughter Louise was runs in screaming for help saying, ‘the dogs are attacking mum’. We both dropped everything and ran over bare footed.
What breeds are banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act?
The Dangerous Dogs Act was introduced in 1991 and makes it illegal for a dog to be ‘out of control’, to bite or attack someone, or to make members of the public ‘worried or afraid’.
The act also contains Breed Specific Legislation (BSL), which bans the ownership of four different types of dogs traditionally bred for fighting:
- Pit bull terrier
- Japanese Tosa
- Dogo Argentino
- Fila Braziliero
Dogs suspected of being a banned are typically seized by the police and can spend significant time in kennels while they are assessed.
‘The living room door was closed and Elayne was behind it so we couldn’t get in. I could hear a dog growling and scratching, we threw all sorts to and banged on the windows to try and distract the dogs.
‘Then the police were called, my partner and a couple of the neighbours started throwing bricks at the dogs from the side door. Once the dogs were in the back garden my partner locked them out.
‘I have known Elayne for 22 years, she is more than a friend – she’s the godmother to my children.
‘By the time the paramedics came there was nothing they could do, she had bled out.
‘I have never known those dogs to be violent. My kids have slept on those dogs and used them as pillows, I can’t believe it.
‘They used to bark when you went in and Elayne had started shutting her curtains because they would bark when people went past, but I have never known the dogs to act that way.
‘The police tried to tranquillise DJ three or four times but he wouldn’t calm down, he had the taste of blood so he went for the police officers and they had to put him down. He was shot twice but Billy the girl dog was tranquillised and taken away.’
On Facebook, Elayne, who was 5ft 9ins tall and of a slim build, wrote the dogs had previously been ‘p****d off’ when she wouldn’t let them play with one of her children’s teddy bears.
Neighbours said Ms Stanley’s daughter raised the alarm, calling: ‘The dogs are attacking mum’
In another post, a friend appeared to refer to the dogs as ‘the terrible twins’. A neighbour, who asked not to be named, said: ‘Elayne kept herself to herself but she was a nice enough woman, she always said hello when she walked past.
‘I was sat upstairs and I just heard a girl shouting ‘DJ’. I heard the girl screaming ‘I can’t get to her’ and the next thing someone was kicking the door in.
‘She was only a little woman, she didn’t really stand a chance. They always seemed like they were nice enough dogs, they were never out of control.
A terraced house in the street has been cordoned off as police continue to investigate
‘You don’t know what’s provoked it. I’ve heard people saying there was an argument but you just don’t know.
‘The police must have shot them because I heard the shots, it sent our two dogs crazy.’
In a statement, Cheshire Police Detective Inspector Ian Whiley said yesterday: ‘We understand people in the local community will be concerned when they hear about what has happened.
‘But I would like to reassure residents that we are doing all that we can to establish the full circumstances of the incident.
‘However, at this stage, it is believed that the dogs were known to the woman and were living at the address.
‘This has been an extremely distressing incident and our thoughts are with the woman’s family at this difficult time.’