"These scars, I will have them for life. After having rolled up her jeans, Marie (the first name has been changed) shows the sores still raw on her left leg. Two months ago, this 40-year-old woman was violently attacked by a dog from the Clara Foundation, the Beauvais refuge (Oise), where she volunteers.
The first name of the animal in question? Curtis. This mastiff that walked Elisa Pilarski, the young pregnant woman found dead in the forest of Retz (Aisne), on November 16. According to the autopsy, she was killed by "dog bites". Curtis is among the "suspects".
If Marie agrees to testify, it is first to react to the words of the victim's companion published in "Le Parisien". Asked to explain the attack on the volunteer, he questioned his ability to "take care of such an animal". "When I hear him say that, I want to answer the same thing, because he too was attacked," she replies. And aptitude or not, one thing is certain, his dog bit me. "
"He jumped on my chest"
On November 21, as often on Thursday, Marie comes to help at the shelter. That day, the commercial employee is a little sad. "It was the last time that I saw one of the staff that I liked very much and who had just been adopted," she explains. After the farewells, around 8:30 p.m., she goes to look for one of the dogs at the pound. The animal, which strongly resembles a staff - in reality a cross between greyhound whippet and patterdal terrier - is none other than Curtis. She won't learn until a few days later.
"I had to take him to the vet who is there once a week to take stock of the animals," explains Marie. She walks him "like any other dog", on a leash. At this time, nothing to report. “Everything was normal, he was calm. "
It is in the veterinarian's room that the situation escalates, for reasons which she still does not know. "He jumped on my chest. I push him away and that's when he attacks my leg and doesn't want to let go, ”says Marie, still in shock. And to continue: "I don't know how long it lasted. The only thing I can remember is howling and telling myself he was going to kill me. The pain was really intense. "
The veterinarian manages to free her from the dog's bite and get her out of the room. Very quickly, the volunteer was transported by the firefighters to the hospital center of Amiens (Somme). No broken bones or severed ligaments. "It's in superficial quotes," says Marie, who will be discharged from the hospital with 12 stitches. She will still be arrested for two months with the daily visit of a nurse.
"Nobody was aware" of the dog's identity
It was the following Monday that she learned the identity of the dog that attacked her. "I started to cry," she breathes. We always say that if he was the one who attacked his own mistress, he could have done the same to me. According to Marie, nobody knew at the shelter, before a phone call from the owner of the animal, that it was Curtis and therefore that he was the subject of a legal requisition. "Otherwise, he would have been placed in a bite box and there would have been no accident," she said. There was a fault somewhere. "
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At the reception of the refuge it is confirmed that "nobody was aware" of the identity of the dog. As for the judicial requisition, the director could not be reached.
An aggression which obviously left its mark. First physical. “I couldn't put my foot down for 15 days, drive for a month. It was very hard because I don't like being addicted and especially staying at home. Even today, she does not understand what prompted the animal to attack it. "Is this a move I made? A smell that I gave off? The fact that I push him away when he jumped on me? I honestly don't know. "
"I can no longer approach a staff"
Psychologically, it is also very complicated for Marie, especially vis-à-vis dogs, whom she adores, but who now cause her night terrors. " It's simple. I can no longer approach a staff. When I see one, I change the sidewalk, ”she slips. At the refuge, where she has returned, she only takes care of cats or welcoming people. However, she does not despair of working with dogs, including staffs. “I'm going to do a two-day internship with an educator to get back on my feet and gradually regain confidence. "
Today, she says she doesn't want anyone. But especially not to Curtis, to whom she claims to have "no resentment". "People mustn't put all of these dogs in one basket," she insists. And prefers to remember that before being bitten by Curtis, this November 21, she had spent a "great day". With another mastiff.