Girlfriend tells of terror as dogs mauled partner
THE girlfriend of an Irishman mauled to death by dogs in Malaysia last night battled tears as she spoke of feeling helpless during the attack.
Maurice Sullivan (50), originally from Waterford city but living in the Galway area in recent years, died on January 9 after being badly bitten by two crossbreed dogs at Teluk Bahan on the tourist resort island of Penang.
His Polish-born girlfriend, Agnieszka Jablonska (29), yesterday told how they were getting bed and board on an organic farm. Farmer Joseph Teoh (42) had offered them accommodation in exchange for work.
Ms Jablonska remembered there were four dogs on the premises, and while "they looked scary enough, we were assured they were okay".
On the day of the attack, they were given a job to plant trees.
"Maurice went back to the house to ask the farmer's wife, to discuss some issues about the planting. He said 'I will be back in a second'," she said.
"I heard him scream. I ignored the first scream, I just thought he was messing. Then he screamed again. I ran over to see what was happening.
"I saw the dogs pulling his leg trying to make him fall down."
Ms Jablonska, who was battling back tears, said he was asking her to help him but she didn't know what to do.
"I begged him to tell me what to do. I was feeling completely helpless," she added. She said the dogs started biting his head after he fell down and the owner's wife tried to protect him on the ground.
Ms Jablonska, who lives in Galway, said that Mr Sullivan told her he was finding it difficult to breathe after the attack. He died within minutes, but although the incident happened at around 9am it was 5pm before the body was taken to hospital.
Both his girlfriend and one of his six siblings, Roscommon-based artist Frances Crowe, said they wanted to highlight the fact that the dogs had still not been put down, as far as they were aware. Ms Crowe said the family found that "unbelievable".
She said the owners were fined just over €900 each earlier this month by a magistrate's court in Malaysia after pleading guilty to four counts of failing to put collars and registration badges on the dogs in January.
Ms Jablonska said, for her, the most "important thing" was to acknowledge that Mr Sullivan was killed. "There is no mention in all of it. I want more awareness that things like this are happening all the time," she said.
"The dogs were not put down afterwards. Maurice died and on the same day I was promised they would be put down. There's still a question mark over that."