Officers in charge of breaking up an illegal rave have been put under investigation after a police dog at the scene left a woman with ‘life-changing’ injuries.
Jessica Mae Andrew, 28, claims the ‘out of control’ dog mauled her without warning while she was dancing at an event on October 31 in Yate, near Bristol, repeatedly biting her leg where it tore through to the bone.
She was hospitalised with severe wounds and a fractured bone, requiring immediate skin and muscle grafts followed by more reconstructive surgery next year.
Avon and Somerset Police referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), which handed the probe back to the force’s investigators but will retain some oversight.
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Ms Andrew insists she was not acting in a threatening or violent way and was simply trying to dance away her last moments at the party as officers closed in on the crowd.
She told The Guardian on Saturday evening: ‘I know partying is not the thing to do during a pandemic but it was beautiful until the dog attacked me.
‘The officers opened their wall of shields up slightly and the next minute the dog was mauling the top of my leg.
‘My leg is totally a different shape now as it pulled so much fat from the top.’
She claims it bit through her thigh and let go before clamping down on her calf and foot.
Speaking to The Independent, which first revealed Ms Andrew’s claims, she added: ‘It bit through right to bone. I had a gaping hole in my calf bigger than my fist – with the bone exposed.
‘The dog was totally out of control. It was traumatising. It tore through my boots – it felt like it was on me for around three to four minutes.’
The force has refused to comment on whether the dog was under control or if Ms Andrew was warned before the attack.
A spokesperson said the force cannot discuss details of the incident while an investigation is ongoing and that it will review body-cam footage and provide a final report to the IOPC.
Police were alerted to the event at an industrial estate in Yate on Saturday and found between 500 and 700 people partying.
Speaking after the event, Avon and Somerset Chief Constable Andy Marsh accused the event’s organisers of acting ‘criminally and disgracefully’.
‘It is hard to adequately explain how reckless it was to organise an unlicensed music event during the midst of a pandemic that has claimed so many lives.’
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