Third dog attack in Scotland in a week

Sadly, today’s headlines tell us that two-year-old Jemma Horn bears the scars of Scotland’s third horror attack by a dog on a little girl in a week.

She came within an inch of losing her left eye and had her nose torn when she was attacked by a Staffordshire bull terrier.

Jemma was mauled as she played with her twin brother Robbie and dad Robert at a family get-together on Saturday afternoon when the terrier – called Moses – pounced as she was standing next to her dad in the garden of the home in North Berwick, East Lothian.

The attack comes just days after two 10-year-olds were savaged in separate incidents in Dundee and Kilmarnock.

Dog owner, Ann Kidd, of Kilsyth, North Lanarkshire, claimed the dog was trying to play with Jemma. She said: “Her dad was trying to get her to pet it and it jumped up on her to try to lick her. Its paw caught her face and cut her. I am distraught about it. I hope the wee girl is OK. It was an accident. The dog is not vicious.”

The new Control of Dogs Act, which comes into force in Scotland in February 2011, is aimed at identifying, controlling and ultimately destroying dangerous and out-of-control dogs of any breed.

If you or a member of your family has been injured by a dog please call us FREE on 0800 163 978 for expert legal advice and a no obligation review of your case.

“Killing machine” fighting dog savages 10-year-old Kilmarnock girl

In what is rapidly becoming an almost  daily occurrence in Scotland, a horrified dad told yesterday how a “killing machine” dog ripped his schoolgirl daughter’s face apart.

Ten-year-old Toni Clannachan needed more than 100 stitches and was scarred for life after the attack by the vicious Akita fighting dog in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire. It came just days after another 10-year-old Scots girl was mauled by two rottweilers in Dundee.

Last night, as Toni lay in hospital, dad James Dixon said: “These dogs shouldn’t be with families or around kids. They are killing machines.”

Toni was playing in a friend’s garden when the family Akita, called Kruger, savaged her. The owner of the Akita, professional dog groomer Gaynor McCabe, has been involved in a previous dog attack.  Her own son Gabriel – whom Toni was playing with on Tuesday when the Akita attacked – lost part of an ear when her Staffordshire bull terrier went for him.

Toni had four hours of surgery at Crosshouse Hospital, two miles from her home in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire. Her cheek had a large hole in it and her top lip was left hanging down her face after the dog took vicious bites at her head. She has been too scared to look at her wounds and nurses have covered mirrors to shield her from the shock.

The Control of Dogs (Scotland) Act 2010 extends the criminal liability of an owner to all places, rather than just public ones, but the legislation does not come into effect until February. We can but hope meantime that certain dog owners will become even more aware of their animals’ potential to cause harm and that they will take steps to protect the public. 

If you or a member of your family has been injured by a dog please call us FREE on 0800 163 978 for expert legal advice and a no obligation review of your case.

New safety advice to prevent crushing by electric gates

Installers, designers, maintenance firms and manufacturers of electric gates, are being urged to seriously consider new safety advice issued by the Health and Safety Executive today, following the recent deaths of two children involving these gates.

The safety alert points out that limiting the closing forces of gates alone will not provide sufficient protection to meet the relevant standards, and installers must fit additional safeguards to gates in public areas.

HSE’s Director of Field Operations, David Ashton, said:

“Electric or automatic gates are designed to stop if someone gets in the way, and installers and those maintaining these gates have a real duty to ensure this happens. They must take their responsibilities seriously to make sure that anti-crushing, shearing and trapping safety protection devices are correctly set and maintained.”

Today’s alert follows a similar notice issued in February this year reminding gate manufacturers and installers of their safety responsibilities when designing, building and installing electrically powered gates.

On 28 June this year, Semelia Campbell, 6, died when she was crushed by electric gates in Manchester. A few days later on 3 July, Karolina Golabek, 5, was also crushed to death by electric gates in Bridgend, South Wales.

HSE’s advice today also reminds those in control of the maintenance of electric gates to regularly review their risk assessments, taking account of or any changes to the operating conditions or environment.

If, like us, you are wondering why the HSE has been obliged to issue two similar safety notes within months of each other, you well may conclude that current legislation and penalties for breaches are inadequate to ensure the safety of the public and that manufacturers, installers and maintenance companies need to be continually exhorted and pressurised to do the right thing.

The tragic deaths of these two young children have occurred at a time when the UK’s health & safety legislation is under scrutiny by Lord Young. He is poised to report his findings to the government at the end of the month, following a review of ‘silly health & safety legislation’ and the associated ‘red tape’ which is stifling British industry. From Lord Young’s comments to date on the so-called ‘compensation culture’ and the need to allow people to manage risk in a more pragmatic (i.e. cost-effective) manner, we are not at all hopeful that the UK will be a safer place as a result of his work.

If you or a member of your family have been hurt or injured in a public place, perhaps as the result of faulty machinery or equipment you can contact us for free, expert legal advice. Call FREEPHONE 0800 163 978

Rottweiler attack on Rhianna comes after owner ignores court order

It has been reported today that 10-year-old Rhianna Kidd who was savagely mauled by two rottweillers in Dundee on Sunday was THE SECOND VICTIM of these particular dogs – named Big Boy and Pretty Girl – within the past 12 months.

37-year-old George Jamieson was mauled by the dogs in the city last September, suffering serious injuries to his arms and shoulders in the attack. The dogs’ owner, Derek Adam, was handed a court order in March this year and ordered to control the animals. Unfortunately for Rhianna the dogs were left to roam with tragic results.Rhianna’s local MP, Jim McGovern said: “If the dogs’ owner had been dealt with firmly this terrible incident may not have happened.”

The new Control of Dogs Act, which comes into force in Scotland in February 2011, is aimed at identifying, controlling and ultimately destroying dangerous and out-of-control dogs of any breed. Against the backdrop of these horrifying attacks and the reported huge increase in dog attacks in Edinburgh this year alone, it is clear that implementation of the new legislation cannot come quickly enough.

If you or a member of your family wishes to discuss the legal options following a dog attack, a member of Bonnar & Company’s experienced personal injury team would be pleased to meet with you for a no obligation review. You can call us FREE on 0800 163 978.

Dundee woman witnesses rottweiler attack on granddaughter

In the month when the number of dog attacks in Edinburgh has rocketed, there has been yet another appalling dog attack on a child in Scotland this weekend.

A Scots gran has described the terrifying moment she saw her 10-year-old granddaughter being mauled by two rottweilers.

Rhianna Kidd was attacked by the dogs while riding her bicycle in Dundee yesterday.
The primary school pupil was being treated for a fractured jaw today and has had to have plastic surgery. Irene Grady, the girls’ grandmother added: “Her jaw’s broken in two places and pins have been put in. They’ll be in for the rest of her life. She’s got bites everywhere and she’s got chunks out of her leg. She’s got bites all over her arms and she can’t open her left eye properly.”

Under the new Control of Dogs (Scotland) Act, passed earlier this year by the Scottish Parliament, councils will soon have to compile a list of potentially dangerous dogs.
Dundee West MSP Joe FitzPatrick said: “This horrific attack has shocked everyone and our sympathies go to Rhianna and her family. The new Act, which comes into force next year, has reformed the law around dangerous or out of control dogs, and will give local authorities greater powers to act.”

A Tayside Police spokesman said: “A 33-year-old woman has been charged under section three of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 for failing to keep the dogs under control and a full report will be submitted to the procurator fiscal.”

The deeply distressing truth of the matter is that, once again, the pain, suffering and psychological damage inflicted by a terrifying dog attack could have been avoided.    

We have a very experienced team available to handle claims on behalf of dog attack victims. If you or a member of your family would like a no obligation review of your legal options following a dog attack, please call Bonnar & Company Solicitors FREE on 0800 163 978.