A Lancashire dog walker has told how she is “lucky to be alive” after nearly being strangled to death by a cow stampede.
Sharon Eley was surrounded by a group of 20 animals during the five-minute attack led by an agitated “ringleader” which tossed her to the ground and repeatedly headbutted her.
The 51-year-old was also nearly strangled to death when the strap of her leather bag became wrapped around her throat during the attack, leaving ligature marks.
She suffered 15 broken ribs, a punctured lung, a dislocated and shattered left ankle, a broken clavicle and severe bruising as a result. She managed to escape only when walkers at the other end of the field managed to distract the group.
All but one cow headed towards the other walkers with Ms Eley managing to reach safety through crawling to the edge of the field and hauling herself over a dry stone wall.
Her friend who had accompanied her on the walk called Mountain Rescue and she was rushed to hospital, where she underwent two surgeries and was finally discharged a month later.
Ms Eley, from Blacko, Lancashire, said the experience was “terrifying”, adding that she thought she was “actually going to die by a cow attack”.
“They pushed me over. I was on my hands and knees, and I didn’t know how to get out,” she said, adding that all she could see “was hooves after hooves after hooves”.
“I was wearing a hard leather backpack handbag and they were hitting it. The next minute, they’d snapped the arm off my backpack, that had gone round my neck and it was choking me.
“I’m very lucky to be alive.”
Ms Eley said she was sharing her experience to urge people to be cautious around livestock, especially when they have calved, where they can be more temperamental.
“Always keep dogs on leads like mine. When you are in front of livestock, particularly cows with calves, just be cautious and know that they can charge and they can attack.”