A physio who told police he was ‘taking care of’ two Irish wolfhounds that killed a Jack Russell and injured its owner has been photographed for the first time since the attack but refused to answer questions about what happened or clarify if the owner of the dogs was there.
Elle Booth, 34, and her dog Indi were attacked by feral dogs being walked by an unknown man in Boggy Well Creek, in Lugarno, south Sydney, at 9am on Sunday.
Mrs Booth spent 20 minutes in neck-deep mud heroically trying to fight off the dogs as the couple were mutilated.
Indi tragically died after undergoing emergency surgery on Monday night, while Ms Booth is recovering from surgery on her arm and forearm.
A short time later, the dogs were seized from the Peakhurst Heights home of married couple George and Bashira Helou, both in their 50s, who told police they were pet-sitting at the time.
It is unclear if Helou was the man walking the Irish Wolfhounds at the time of the attack.
When approached by Daily Mail Australia outside his business, Lugarno Sports Injury Clinic, on Wednesday morning, the experienced physiotherapist refused to answer questions about what happened.
George Helou (pictured) has surfaced after two Irish Wolfhounds responsible for a savage attack were seized from his property on Sunday.
Mr. Helou sat in his front seat covering his face with his hands for several moments before finally getting out of the vehicle.
Mr. Helou is seen stopping by his Lugarno sports injury clinic on Wednesday morning.
What Daily Mail Australia asked George Helou
- Were they your dogs?
- What do you have to tell the owners of Indi?
- Why were the dogs outside?
- Why don’t you want to answer questions?
- what do you have to say [about the incident]?
- You went [Ms Booth alone] Or was it someone else?
Shielding his face from the cameras, Mr. Helou hid behind the driver’s seat of his car after arriving at the clinic’s entrance.
Asked to explain what happened, who owned the dogs and whether he had anything to say to Indi’s grieving owners, Mr. Helou kept his head down as he got out of his red van and stormed into the clinic.
Locals told Daily Mail Australia that they had seen dogs earlier on Sunday while Helou was walking them around the neighbourhood.
One man said he was “shocked” by the news as the dogs seemed quite friendly.
A local woman said she thought there were only two dogs residing at the property, but learned from police that there were three at the residence when the dogs were impounded over the weekend.
Another neighbor said that Helou had two wolfhounds, however the physiologist told police that the dogs responsible for the attack were not his, but two other dogs that he was taking care of.
He told police that they escaped from his yard by jumping over the back fence.
Helou’s lawyer, Elias Tabchouri, told reporters on Tuesday that his client had spoken to police about “these matters” and that “the subject of those discussions is part of the investigation.”
A large metal dog crate, used to transport pets in the back of utes, could be seen sitting in the driveway of the Helous property Tuesday.
Despite Helou telling police the dogs escaped from his property, Booth’s husband Tom Dale told Daily Mail Australia that a man was walking the wolfhounds at the time of the attack.
It is not clear if that man was Mr. Helou or another relative or associate.
George Helou and his wife Bashira (pictured) own and operate a sports injury clinic in Lugarno
Helous’ son Josh and his wife Joanne (pictured) also work at the clinic.
Two Irish Wolfhounds (pictured) were seized by police and Georges River Council Rangers at Helous’ Peakhurst Heights home
An empty dog crate was seen sitting in the Helous driveway on Tuesday
According to reports on Sunday, the council was still working to find the owners of the dogs after removing them from the premises.
When contacted on Tuesday, a council spokesman said he could not comment on whether the owners have since been located as the matter is under investigation.
Mr. Helou is the lead physiologist at the family business, where his wife works as chief operating officer, son Josh as a chiropractor, and daughter-in-law Joanne as head of marketing.
According to the clinic’s website, it has been operating in South Sydney for over 30 years and is a “family business you can trust”.
“The clinic team is highly motivated to help the community improve their mobility, strength and overall health,” it read.
Ms Booth (pictured), 34, was rushed to St George’s hospital in the south of the city after sustaining injuries to her face, neck, arms, hands and legs in the wild stroke.
Seven-year-old Jack Russell (pictured) never recovered after being admitted to hospital on Sunday.
It is not the first time that the Helous have refused to discuss how the brutal attack unfolded.
When contacted by Daily Mail Australia on Tuesday, Helous hung up the phone.
The sighting of Mr Helou comes after Ms Booth said she was “lucky to be alive” after the dog attack that claimed the life of her little Jack Russell.
“It was heartbreaking, they killed her in my arms…I’m very lucky to be alive if they had decided to attack me I could have died,” Booth said. 7News on Tuesday.
Mrs Booth said she saw the man with the ferocious dogs run off and was at first relieved to assume he had gone for help, but it was the last she saw of him.
“I hope he takes responsibility for what happened to my dog and me,” she said.
Dog attack victim Elle Booth (pictured with her husband Tom) said: “I thought I was going to die, I thought those dogs were going to kill me.”
The mystery man blew a whistle and the dogs halted momentarily during the attack, and Mrs. Booth took the opportunity to wade deeper into the mud as she desperately tried to protect her pet from further harm.
But when she turned back toward the shore and the path through the bushes, the man was nowhere to be seen, and she realized she was alone.
Police continue to investigate the identity of the man and urge anyone with information to come forward.
Conditions were so treacherous that the officers who came to the aid of Ms Booth and Indi also became trapped in the mud.
Her husband, Tom Dale, told Daily Mail Australia that his wife was “brave as hell” and that he was “so proud of her”.
‘He [the man] she was yelling at Elle to make Indigo stop running away, as she was exciting her dogs. She was trying to stop them, but they were out of control,” Dale said.
“He followed Elle into the mangroves and when he saw his two dogs mutilating Indi in the mud further away, he turned and ran.”
Family friend Tess Hutchison created a GoFundMe to help raise money to cover Indi’s vet bills, which have ballooned to $25,000. She said the funds would grow as Indi still needed to undergo emergency surgery, with no guarantee that she would survive.
On Tuesday, Ms Hutchinson announced that Indi had sadly passed away while undergoing surgery.
Family friend Tess Hutchinson announced Tuesday morning that Indi (pictured) had passed away overnight while undergoing emergency surgery after the terror attack.
“Unfortunately, Indi passed away last night due to three heart attacks while undergoing surgery,” said Ms Hutchinson.
“She fought to the end and was such an incredibly brave little pup who will always be loved by so many.”
The Irish Wolfhounds are believed to have been euthanized shortly after they were seized.
Georges Council said they could not comment because the matter remains under investigation.
“We can confirm that council staff worked with police on the day to locate and confiscate the dogs and will continue to work with police throughout the investigation,” a spokesman said on Monday.
“Residents are reminded to exercise responsible pet ownership to ensure the safety of our community and the well-being and safety of their pets by always walking your dog on a leash, unless in an authorized off-leash area.” .