Heartbroken partner of mother killed by American bulldogs says animals were ‘never aggressive’

Victim Elayne Stanley and the two dogs (Caters)
Victim Elayne Stanley and the two dogs (Caters)

The heartbroken partner of a woman savaged to death by her two pet American bulldogs has claimed that the animals were “never aggressive”.

Mother-of-three Elayne Stanley, 44, was mauled at her home in Graham Road, Widnes, Cheshire, on Tuesday afternoon.

Police were called to the terraced property after the two huge dogs, DJ and Billy, attacked her.

A friend told how the frenzied animals could have been 'spooked' by an argument between Ms Stanley and her daughter Louise, 21, before biting the part-time care assistant, who could not be saved. Ms Stanley also had twin 12-year-old daughters.

The American bulldogs, Billy, left, and DJ (Caters)
The American bulldogs, Billy, left, and DJ (Caters)

Neighbours said Elayne's partner of four years, Paul Leigh, who she didn't live with, owned the animals but speaking at his home in Runcorn, Cheshire, father-of-four Mr Leigh said they belonged to her.

Paul, a full-time carer for his son, said: "Elayne and her daughter Louise were having an argument but I don't know exactly what happened, the police are still investigating.

"Billy and DJ were both Elayne's dogs, she's had them since they were basically pups.

"The dogs were never aggressive or acted like this, I can't believe it, I never thought I'd be putting my partner in the ground.

"We've been together four years and we're both dog lovers. I was two minutes from seeing my dad in a coma when I got the call."

Partner Paul Leigh (Caters)
Partner Paul Leigh (Caters)

Close friend Bev Hall, 39, paid tribute to her friend of 22 years, who is also the godmother to her daughters, and revealed she and partner Jay attempted to distract the frenzied animals before Ms Stanley 'bled out' in her living room from her injuries.

DJ was shot at the house after officers' attempts to detain and tranquillise him were unsuccessful and Billy remains in a secure kennel, police confirmed.

Bev, who lives opposite Elayne, said: "Elayne was at home with her daughters, she was arguing with her daughter.

"We were here putting the tea on and the next thing her daughter Louise was runs in screaming for help saying, 'the dogs are attacking mum'.”

A floral tribute outside the house in Widnes (Caters)
A floral tribute outside the house in Widnes (Caters)

She added: ​"I have never known those dogs to be violent. My kids have slept on those dogs and used them as pillows, I can't believe it.”

In a statement, Cheshire Police Detective Inspector Ian Whiley said: "We understand people in the local community will be concerned when they hear about what has happened.

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"But I would like to reassure residents that we are doing all that we can to establish the full circumstances of the incident.”

​No arrests have been made.

​The BBC reported that one neighbour, Dorothy Woodward, described the victim as a “good woman... a lovely lady”.

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