independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Mother had to kick urban fox to stop it dragging her baby out of the house

Puncture wounds on the baby's face after the fox attack

A mother had to kick an urban fox repeatedly to prevent it dragging her four-week-old son out of her house after it bit off his finger. She heard the baby’s screams of distress from another room and ran in to find the adult male fox dragging him towards the door by his left hand, according to family members.

As she fought it off, she kicked it several times before it eventually dropped her son and ran away.

 

The baby, named by his aunt as Denny, was soaked in blood and required surgery to reattach a severed finger. Surgeons said the operation had gone well, but are believed to have warned his parents that there remains a 30 per cent chance that he will not regain full use of the finger.

 

The attack, which took place in the middle of the afternoon in Bromley, on the outskirts of south-east London, has left the parents, Paul Dolan and Hayley Banks Cawley, 28, deeply shaken.

 

Mr Dolan’s half-sister, Lorraine Murphy, 42, who lives nearby, said: “The baby was covered in blood. There was blood everywhere in the house.

 

 “The fox didn’t just get in and hurt the baby. He actually tried to take the baby away. It was Hayley’s actions that saved the child. She was there so quickly. She fought the fox off. I think she kicked it before it released the baby.”

 

Denny was taken to The Evelina Children’s Hospital, part of the Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust Hospital in London following the attack last Wednesday, where staff said he was responding well and had been moved out off the high dependency unit.

 

Ms Murphy added: “His whole hand was bandaged. He had four cuts to the head and a black eye. At least one of the gashes was deep enough to need stitches to the face.”

 

Neighbours said that the number of foxes in the area had risen significantly in recent years with the animals becoming increasingly bold in the presence of humans. Dean Bailey, 48, who lives near the family’s home, said he recently returned home to discover his path blocked by a large pack of foxes.

 

He explained: “About a month ago I was coming back home at 1am, then I just saw all these foxes, 20 to 25 of them, in the street.

 

“It looked like they were having a convention. They were all standing there barking. My hair was standing on end. I thought, 'How am I going to get past all these?’ I knew they were a little bit scared of humans, so I just ran straight at them.”

 

Yesterday afternoon a large fox was spotted prowling in the garden next door to where the attack took place.

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