WHEN Debbie Steel saw a fox running away with one of her chickens it ruffled her feathers.
Without thinking of her own safety she launched herself at it, grabbing it by the tail and neck.
The startled animal immediately let go of the chicken, a Buff Orpington called Blondie, and sunk its teeth into Debbie’s hand refusing to let go.
“I was so angry, all I could think of was saving Blondie,” said Debbie.
“I was mad with rage but I just thought ‘you are not getting away with this’.
“It was the third time this year the chickens have been attacked and I just wasn’t having it.”
Debbie, 45, recounted her first sight of the fox trotting across her West Lavington garden in broad daylight with Blondie in its mouth.
“I was mowing the lawn and I turned and saw a big puff of feathers.”
She left the lawn mower engine going deliberately, so the fox could not hear her and dived across the grass:
“I grabbed it by the tail with my left hand and went for its neck with my right hand.
“It let go of Blondie but turned and bit me and didn’t let go.
“I shouted for help and my neighbours ran to their fence but couldn’t get to me.
“Then all four of my dogs came running out and my little terrier Pea jumped up and grabbed the fox by the neck at which point it let go of me.”
Debbie’s massive six-year-old Mastiff cross Dogue de Bordeaux Beeley, weighed in after hearing Debbie’s distress calls and killed it.
Blondie is making a recovery thanks to Debbie’s bravery: “Although she has gone broody and is sitting on eggs. I don’t think she wants to come out any more.”
Debbie received medical treatment at the Riverbank Surgery, for deep puncture wounds in her hand.
In the first incident a fox took Hoppy, a grey chicken, but dropped while jumping the fence. The second time the fox dropped the chicken while trying to jump the river at the bottom of her garden. Debbie threw herself fully clothed into the water and rescued it.