A BRAVE dad has defied the odds to attend his daughter’s funeral today – less than a week after a terrifying dog attack left him with horrific injuries.
Former school teacher John Onyett was facing the devastating prospect of having to miss the service for his adopted daughter, Andrea, after being mauled by a Japanese Akita in Chapeltown.
The 76-year-old has spent five days in hospital and has undergone extensive surgery to repair open wounds to his arms, hands and leg following the incident on Saturday.
Doctors said it was unlikely he would be well enough to leave Leeds General Infirmary to attend the funeral at St Martin’s Church in Chapeltown.
But Mr Onyett, whose arms and hands are still covered in bandages, insisted that he be discharged yesterday. He will return to hospital for further treatment tonight.
The former maths teacher, who worked at Primrose Hill High School in Harehills, said: “I was so upset that I might have to miss the funeral because of what happened.
“I said to the hospital that I really wanted to leave. I need to have more skin grafts, so they have kept my bed for me so that I could be given day release.”
Miss Onyett, who died on July 29 at the age of 40 following a long battle with alcoholism, had been living at a property owned by Mr Onyett on Hilton Road in Chapeltown.
Following her death, he went to the house to do some maintenance work.
As soon as he opened a door to the cellar he was set upon by a dog owned by a man who had stayed with Miss Onyett for a time before she died.
Grandfather of eight Mr Onyett, of Sholebrooke Avenue, said: “I don’t remember a lot – only feeling like my arm was going to be ripped off and being in terrible pain. If it had been a child, I’ve no doubt their arm would have come straight off.
“I play the violin and I was terrified of losing my fingers.
“It was horrendous, I literally didn’t know what to do. Every time I moved my arm, the dog bit harder. The more frantic I got, the more excited the dog became.”
Several neighbours came to Mr Onyett’s aid, but it is thought the dog only relented when one of them hit it with a garden fork.
Police arrived and removed the animal, but no crime was recorded because the attack happened on private property and Akitas aren’t banned under UK law.
Mr Onyett, who praised the treatment he had received at Leeds General Infirmary as “fantastic”, believes dog owners should be licensed.
“A dog isn’t inherently dangerous, it’s all to do with the way it is treated,” he said. “There has to be some form of control.”
West Yorkshire Police said the dog that attacked him was due to be destroyed.