I feared bull would kill us - mum

Anita Guidera

A MOTHER feared for her son and her own life when a bull knocked her to the ground and trampled over her.

Sonya Byrne (46) and her 11-year-old son Patrick were walking their dogs near a beach when their trip turned to terror.

They were walking close to cows and calves on commonage land, which is not fenced off from the beach, at Mullaghmore in Sligo, when a bull emerged from the herd and began charging towards them.

"They all started to stampede. I could hear the snorting. The bull butted me in the base of my back and I was knocked to the ground.

"I could see Patrick's legs and I could see other animal legs and I thought 'This is it. We are the last walkers here tonight and we will not be found until morning. We're goners'," she recalled.

She added that the bull had trampled on her back left thigh with its hoof and injured the calf of her left leg and ankle.

"I knew it wasn't a cow because there was no udder over my head. At the time I wasn't aware of any injury. When I let go of the dog, which is a Great Dane, the bull went after the dog. I suppose it was what it was after," she said.

A traumatised Sonya, who was also terrified for the safety of her son, mustered the strength to scare the other cattle away before phoning a family member for help.

Sonia, from Enniskillen in Co Fermanagh, was taken to Sligo General Hospital where she was treated for swelling on her thigh that was so severe there was a danger it could cut off blood supply to her lower leg.

"I was told when I went back for a follow-up appointment that I wouldn't lose my leg," she said.

She is haunted by the thought that if her son had been holding the dog's lead, he may not have survived the attack.

"If the hoof had hit him anywhere on his body, he wouldn't have lived to tell the tale," she said.