Denny in hospital after fox attack
Dennie in hospital after fox attack

The mother who saved her baby from a fox that had got into their suburban London home said her child was just a piece of "chicken" to the animal.

Hayley Cawley, 28, discovered her four-week-old baby Dennie was not in the blanket where she had left him. She spotted his head disappearing behind a door to the porch at her home in Bromley, southeast London.

She rushed to the porch to be confronted by the sight of Dennie being dragged out by a snarling fox. It's teeth were clamped around the boy's wrist.

Blood was "everywhere," including on Dennie's head from bites and scratches, she said.

Cawley told The Sun how she was screaming frantically.

"I ran towards Dennie and saw a fox trying to pull him through the front door. It had Dennie's left hand in its jaws. Dennie's head was covered in blood and it was running down his cheeks," said Cawley.

"His head was lodged in the corner of the door frame and the fox couldn't get him out of the door.

"I kicked it hard but it wouldn't let go. I was scared it would sink its teeth in even further so I lashed out at it with my hand and kept hitting it."

In a terrifying tug of war she pulled harder on Dennie's wrist and his finger was ripped off as she freed him from the fox's jaws.

"I was screaming, 'Help me!' I got hold of Dennie's wrist and I tore it out of the fox's mouth.

"I had no other choice. The more I hit the fox, the more he pulled Dennie. His head was just banging against the door frame every time.

"Its teeth were showing and it was making this awful noise, hissing and growling.

"I bent down and picked the baby up and it all went quiet. I remember looking at the fox and just shutting the door calmly.

"If I'd got there a few seconds later my baby would have been out of the door and I might never have seen him again.

"The fox would have found a way of getting him out of that door. It saw Dennie as a 10lb piece of chicken to eat."

Dumped rubbish attracting foxes

Dennie was rushed to King's College Hospital in Camberwell. Doctors reaffixed his finger and he is recovering. There is an estimated 70 percent chance of recovering full use of the digit.

The experience changed Cawley's view on urban foxes, she admitted.

"There are always foxes hanging around there, even during the day, because people keep dumping rubbish on the green," she said.

"I've seen pieces of raw meat left out on the ground where people have dumped their waste.

"I used to be one of those who say foxes are harmless wild animals that are more frightened of us than we are of them.

"Now I think something should be done to get rid of foxes around people's houses."

A cull of urban foxes was mooted in the aftermath of the incident. That was rejected by critics as ineffective. Others pointed out that fox attacks were very rare compared to dog attacks.

London councils are not required to take action on foxes because no law on managing them exists.