A mother whose 12-year-old son was left scarred for life and terrified of dogs after he was mauled by a Rottweiler is urging people to keep their pets on leads.
The youngster, who cannot be named for legal reasons, suffered multiple puncture wounds to his left arm, nerve damage and was left with a “profound fear of dogs” following the attack.
Eyewitnesses reported seeing the dog sprint across a main road in Ayrshire to attack the boy, who was on his way to meet friends.
He said he does not remember much about the attack, but it was “really scary”.
“I was just walking when I heard a car horn and when I turned round the dog was on me,” he said.
“I don’t remember much but it was really scary.”
His mother said she is a firm believer that bad dog breeds do not exist but “bad dog owners do”.
She added: “What happened to my son is proof of that and I hope people learn from this to stop future tragedies.
“At the very least, keeping a dog on a lead in public places is a reasonable place to start in responsible dog ownership.”
The attack only stopped when bystanders stepped in, lifting the boy over a wall to safety after it was said the dog’s owner was “too scared” to intervene.
The youngster spent two nights in hospital and needed surgery on his injuries.
It took around 12 weeks for the wounds to heal but he has been left with significant scarring and nerve damage.
“I don’t have much feeling around the bite marks and when I touch the skin it’s like I’m touching someone else’s arm,” he said.
“I definitely don’t like dogs anymore and now I cross the street if I see any dog coming towards me and I don’t like going to the park or beach where I see dogs off a lead.”
Nurses at the hospital said they had “never seen a dog bite like it,” the boy’s mother said. The dog was later destroyed.
She added: “Before the attack my son was the biggest animal lover in the family but that’s now changed – he’s now even wary around dogs he’s known for years like his gran’s dogs, she said.
“No-one wants to see a dog destroyed but the authorities must have had reason to believe there was a future risk.
“What is strange to me is people who adopt dogs from charities have to go through screening, background checks or home visits.
“Yet when buying a dog privately or online, any person can buy any dog without any checks.
“What happened could have been much worse and I hope people learn from this.”
A 27-year-old man was prosecuted under the Dangerous Dogs Act following the case and handed a £300 fine, and an order to destroy the dog was granted.
Damian White, partner at Digby Brown legal firm in Ayr, said: “What happened to this young boy was truly traumatic – he suffered serious injuries but psychological scars have their own lasting impact too.
“While this dog owner was prosecuted a conviction is not essential for people to seek damages in the civil court.”
Enjoy the convenience of having The Sunday Post delivered as a digital ePaper straight to your smartphone, tablet or computer.
Subscribe for only £5.49 a month and enjoy all the benefits of the printed paper as a digital replica.Subscribe