A devastated gran told how her daughter was savaged to death by her pet dog which she believes “turned mad in the extreme heat” and warned the public to watch out for the pets.
Mum-of-two Joanne Robinson, 43, is understood to have been pinned down by the jaws of her Bully XL called Rocco after being seized around the throat inside her home after a night out visiting a pal.
Her frantic boyfriend Jamie Stead desperately tried to fight off the beast which is “bigger than a lion,” the victim’s grieving mum said.
He was mauled trying to save his screaming partner and has undergone skin grafting for potentially life changing injuries.
Dotty Robinson, speaking outside the family home in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, where heartfelt tributes and candles adorn the garden wall, said: “I am in total disbelief and shock. I just hope it was quick and that she didn’t suffer too much.”
Dotty urged dog owners to be extra vigilant of their pets during the UK’s blistering heatwave with temperatures expected to top 40C in some areas.
“Try to keep your dogs cool,” she added. “Keep them inside and give them plenty of water. The heat affects them too.”
A warning sign on the front wall of her daughter’s house states: “Beware of dog.”
She said of popular Joanne, a former worker with disabled people: “I want everyone to know how well loved she was. She was born and bred in this village. They all know her and love her.”
Dotty told how Rocco – who was nearly two and his two-year-old mate, Bully XL bitch Lola – were both seized by police.
Speaking about the family’s horrendous ordeal, the gran of nine, supported by other members, told how her daughter and partner had had the dogs since puppies.
She said: “They were good dogs, they are not a banned breed and were not dangerous. They were not related but they got on well together. I don’t know why they suddenly snapped.
“I can only think they turned mad in the extreme heat. It must have set them off.
“Rocco’s a big dog, he’s bigger than a lion.”
Her tearful granddaughter added: “He was like a small horse.”
Dotty, a mum of three who lives nearby, said: “They’ve had the dogs since they were puppies. They were no trouble.
“It must have been the heat. There’s a saying about mad dogs going out in the midday sun.”
More stunned friends and neighbours have continued to place tributes and pay respects at the home where “kind and caring” Joanne was savaged to death on Friday night.
A sea of cards, flowers and balloons adorned the home where the couple have lived for twenty years – including a poignant one from Joanne’s grown up children Elle, 24, and Dillon, 19, saying: “Mum I love and miss you.”
Dotty, reliving the horror, told how her daughter has been to visit a friend and had walked back into the house about 10pm.
She explained: “She was downstairs and suddenly Rocco attacked her, it got her, I think it was around the throat.
“Lola was going mad, she was trying to be protective and Steady, Joanne’s partner but we call him her husband, tried to save her.
“He was trying to get Lola out of the room, he had no choice but to get her out and during that time Rocco attacked.”
Neighbours had told how they had heard piercing screams coming from the top of the road.
Dotty added: “I’m hoping it was quick. I can’t bear to think of her suffering. I think she was grabbed around the throat but we haven’t had the results of the post mortem yet. They are due today.”
Jamie, 42, who runs a company making blinds, suffered injuries to his face, both arms, his stomach and has undergone skin grafting.
Dotty said: “He’s hoping to come home from hospital today but he is still in much pain.
“He knows Joanna has gone and is absolutely devastated as we all are. We will miss her so much.
“He’s had a horrible ordeal. He’s lost his partner of twenty years and his dogs.”