'It was terrifying': Dog walker, 51, was nearly strangled and headbutted to death by a herd of AGITATED cows
Sharon Eley and her five-year-old Lhasa Apso, Ralphie, were crossing a public field when she got surrounded by 20 rampaging cows
BLACKO, LANCASHIRE: A 51-year-old dog walker was left fighting for her life after being strangled and repeatedly buttheaded by a herd of cows in a 5-minute-long terror attack in Lancashire in May 2022.
Sharon Eley and her five-year-old Lhasa Apso called Ralphie were crossing a public field when she got surrounded by 20 rampaging cows. The herd of the cows was led by an agitated "ringleader" who tossed her twice in the air after headbutting her multiple times. The horrific attack left Eley with 15 broken ribs, a punctured lung, a dislocated and shattered ankle and a broken clavicle.
The 51-year-old was almost strangled to death after a bag strap got wrapped around her neck during the attack and left her with a ligature mark commonly seen on hanging victims.
Sharon Eley’s life was saved by some outside walkers, who distracted the herd of cows with their movement. She was then able to crawl to the edge of the field and haul herself over a dry-stone wall. As soon all the cows stepped back, she was rushed to the hospital by a Mountain Rescue team, where she underwent two surgeries on her ankle.
Recounting the terror attack, Sharon Eley, from Blacko, Lancashire admitted that she thought she is going to die of the attack by agitated cows. "It was terrifying", she said. "They pushed me over, I was on my hands and knees and I didn't know how to get out. They'd got all around me and all I could see was hooves after hooves after hooves. I stood up and then they pushed me down again. I was on my hands and knees again and then they were headbutting me on my back." She added, "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."
Sharon, who walked more than 30 miles in four days as a part of her training for the Yorkshire Three Peak Challenge, had walked the same route with her pal Ralphie a day before and faced no problem. But on the day of the attack, the official route took her through two fields. The walk through the first field went smooth.
But as soon they entered the second field they spotted 20 cows, including calves, huddled in the corner of the field about 20ft away from them. Remembering the scene, Sharon said "Ralphie was on his lead, he didn't bark at them. There were about 20 of them and as we started walking they started walking toward us. Then the cows ran and that's quite a scary experience, they skidded and stopped in front of us. They were just out of arm's reach and one of them was snorting."
So she attempted to make herself "look big", having successfully used the trick before, but to no avail. "When they got too close I put my arms up, I didn't shoo them or make any noises, but then they started to come closer," Sharon added.
Despite everything, she hopes to recover as soon as possible and get back to complete her challenge. “I'm in a walking boot now and I'm already planning a walk on the canal next week. I'd like to think the experience hasn't put me off hiking," she said.
But she added, "I was ultra-cautious before around cows so I do worry. I don't know whether I would walk through a field with any livestock in it now."