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16th Feb 2023

Man dies after ‘absolutely brutal’ attack by chicken

Steve Hopkins

‘It was a malicious attack, absolutely brutal. There were litres of blood all over the floor’

A man who had a heart condition died after being mauled by an “aggressive” Brahma chicken on his property in Ireland.

Jasper Kraus, of Killahornia, was attacked by the chicken on 28 April last year and suffered a heart attack after the bird plunged its spur into his leg.

The 67-year-old lost litres of blood and couldn’t be saved, his daughter, Virginia Guinan, has said.

The 33-year-old has spoken out to warn others about the dangers of owning poultry.

She says Jasper – a dad-of-two and grandad-of-two – was an experienced animal handler.

The trainee healthcare assistant, from south Roscommon, Ireland, said: “You wouldn’t think a chicken can be dangerous – but they can be.

“It was a malicious attack, absolutely brutal. There were litres of blood all over the floor when I arrived.”

Virginia said the chicken was thought to be “a nice docile breed, and good for children”.

“But this shows any breed can be dangerous. “Having pet chickens is a big thing for families now, especially getting children involved.

“For this to happen is so rare and unbelievable, but it can happen.”

Retired horse trainer Jasper was out in his garden when the rooster attacked from behind. The bird plunged its spur – a spike on the back of its leg used for protection and fighting – into Jasper’s left leg.

He lost so much blood that it caused a fatal heart attack, it is thought.

Virginia is now urging poultry owners to be vigilant to signs of aggression.

She had formerly owned the rooster which killed her father. But he had taken it from her after it had tried to attack her three-year-old daughter, Josie.

“A year earlier, the same rooster jumped the wall and jumped on Josie’s back,” Virginia explained.

“After that I knew I had to get rid – we should have put him down there and then because we knew he was no good.

“But my dad protested. He had too big of a heart and didn’t want me to get rid of the rooster – so he took it instead.”

Jasper, who was in remission from cancer at the time of his death, was outside visiting his dog’s grave when the rooster attacked.

The animal, which has since been put down, had a random aggressive outburst and created a wound 1.5cm deep.

Jasper was quickly losing blood from the deep wound and made it back to the house and a man who was there called an ambulance. He collapsed from blood loss before it arrived.

Virginia recalled arriving to find her father in a pool of blood as paramedics attempted to resuscitate him.

He was pronounced dead at 3:24pm.

An inquest heard the cause of death was due to lethal cardiac arrhythmia in the context of severe coronary atheroma and cardiomegaly.

But a doctor at the hearing noted that the circumstances of his death were unusual as a wound had been inflicted on his left calf by a chicken, reports say.

Virginia said the whole family has been left devastated by the incident.

She said: “I got to the house and saw two ambulances outside.

“I walked in and just saw litres of blood pooled around the stairs, and a trail of blood leading out to the chicken coop in the garden.”

“After he passed, I had to clean the blood left on the floor. It was traumatising after what had happened.

“There should be more support in place for families who go through tragedies like this.”

Virginia’s dad  is believed to be one of only a handful of people in the world to have been killed in this way.

Virginia, also mum to Sofie Mai, one, said: “People want to have fresh eggs and keep chickens in their gardens. “It’s such a big hobby now – but it’s not only larger animals like cattle and horses that can be dangerous.

“We don’t know why it happened – that breed was supposed to be soft and cuddly. “People should be aware of the signs and get rid of any bird as soon as they show signs of aggression.

“I had wanted it put own as soon as it attacked my daughter, but my father wanted to keep it.

“Dad wanted the rooster to stay with him and breed with his hens so it didn’t have to be put down.

“That’s just what he was like – he was a real animal lover.”

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