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Westerham dog attack: Man was looking after bull mastiffs for friend following flat fire

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The owner of five bull mastiffs that mauled a man in Westerham says the dogs are "not vicious."

Kathleen Mongan, 45, was left homeless after a fire broke out in the temporary housing in Catford.

The single mum-of-four claims a dodgy fridge freezer was to blame for the fire in south east London, which killed one of her six dogs.

Two of the dogs are to be put down
Two of the dogs are to be put down

The mum and her five remaining dogs were all staying with friend Steve at his one-bed home in Westerham, Kent, since the fire destroyed her home.

But Kathleen was rushed to hospital on Sunday morning shortly before the attack took place.

She said: "I don't know what happened in that house but they're not vicious dogs. Steve is a good friend and he offered to take me and the dogs in.

"I had to go into hospital because I was struggling to breathe and was there all morning and all afternoon and only heard on my way back what happened."

The five dogs - named Popeye, Bright Eyes, Boxer, Baby Girl and Sharpei - are just 14 months old.

Rita Scriven, a friend of both Steve and Kathleen, said: "It's absolutely shocking what has happened."

A dog handler removing one of the animals following the attack. Picture: Philip Hoath
A dog handler removing one of the animals following the attack. Picture: Philip Hoath

"She only moved in January to an housing association flat.

"Not only have these dogs seen something horrific in that fire, but they were staying in Steve's one-bedroom flat in Westerham.

"Not even having a run and seeing their mum going off into an ambulance, they were probably very distressed."

The house fire broke out on Thursday shortly before 11am in Catford.

Kathleen said all of her dogs would have died if it weren't for a neighbour who came home from the doctor instead of going to work.

She said: "There were no smoke alarms in the flat and I lost absolutely everything in that fire."

Mr Morris suffered serious injuries to his head, neck, arm and legs during Sunday morning's attack in Vicarage Hill.

Police officers at the scene. Picture: Philip Hoath
Police officers at the scene. Picture: Philip Hoath

He was taken to a London hospital, where he remains in a serious condition.

Animal welfare officers reportedly wanted to have them put down.

A friend of the Mrs Mongan appealed for support on social media on Saturday - less than 24 hours before the attack.

She posted on Facebook: "Is there anyone out there in the big wide world of animals willing to help?

"My friend has lost everything in a house fire, all her possessions, her home and now the council and housing association want to get rid of her dogs, worse, put them down. WHY?"

She added a sixth dog - the pack's father - died in the fire.

Kent Police is now handling the case.

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