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vicious dog attack

What if it were your child left scarred for life by a vicious dog attack?

Lanarkshire children continue to be traumatised by vicious dog attacks and we wonder what will it take for a crackdown on “pets” that maim. 

What do 8 year-old Lanarkshire boys Aiden Gallagher and Adam Taylor have in common with 6 year-old Lanarkshire girl Sinead Fleming?

All three were viciously attacked by dogs in Lanarkshire within the last two months.

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Family’s Staffordshire bull terrier mauls toddler in Glasgow flat.

Family's Staffordshire bull terrier mauls toddler in Glasgow flat.

Staffordshire bull terrier
 

In post Control of Dogs (Scotland Act) 2010 – yet another attack by a fearsome dog on a defenceless child makes the headlines… 

Why do some people insist on keep these types of animals and why can’t they control them?

The litany of dog attack victims in this country is long and shameful and we make no apology for highlighting the all too familiar pattern of family ‘pet’ savages daughter / nephew / neighbour / family friend…

We wish this little girl a full recovery and our sympathies go to her mother. 

Surgeons at Glasgow’s Sick Kids Hospital at Yorkhill battled to save a toddler’s eyesight after she was mauled in a horror attack by her grandad’s dog.

The terrifying dog attack happened just before midnight on Friday at a flat in Possil,

Glasgow.Millie’s 21-year-old mum Jamielee Bennett is the daughter of the dog’s owner, Joe Bennett. The dog involved – along with another of the same breed owned by the grandfather – has been seized by police.

A police spokesman said:

“An 18-month-old girl sustained serious facial injuries after being bitten by a Staffordshire bull terrier in a house in Glasgow at around 11.40pm on Friday. She was taken to Yorkhill Children’s Hospital, where she is presently detained.

Hospital staff describe her condition as serious but stable. The dog, plus one other of the same breed, has been seized by officers and inquiries continue.”

 

Our views on dangerous dogs and the responsibilities of dog ownership: 

http://news.bonnarandco.com/great-grandmother-tragically-mauled-to-death

http://news.bonnarandco.com/tag/dangerousdogs

Written by Andy Thorogood, Business Development Manager, Bonnar Accident Law.

Great-grandmother tragically mauled to death by family dogs

Great-grandmother tragically mauled to death by family dogs

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Fresh calls were made for a change in the law in England  and Wales today after a great-grandmother was apparently mauled to death by her daughter’s dogs in her back garden.

The five animals pounced on Gloria Knowles, 71, after she went into the garden to give them their evening meal as a favour to her daughter, Beverley Mason.

The widow was badly injured when the dogs – two ‘giant’ Bordeaux French mastiffs, two American bulldogs and a small mongrel – seemed to suddenly turn on her.

She was found dead at the scene in Morden, South London on Tuesday night.

Currently, in England and Wales, police can only prosecute owners of dogs who harm people if the attack happens in public – and they can only forcibly remove illegal dogs.

THE LAW IN SCOTLAND RELATING TO DANGEROUS DOGS

Follow this link for our comments on dangerous dogs and The Control of Dogs (Scotland)Act:

http://news.bonnarandco.com/tag/dangerousdogs

Today further calls were made for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to change the law to allow dog control rules to apply everywhere.

As we noted yesterday, the Communications Union CWU, which represents postal workers in the UK, is campaigning to change the law and said the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 is failing to protect both dog owners and attack victims.

They pointed to two incidents where postmen in Cambridge and Sheffield almost lost limbs while carrying out their duties. The man who owned two rottweilers that almost tore off the Cambridge postman’s arm in2008 escaped prosecution.

The tragedy in this incident is that a much-loved mother and grand-mother is dead and a family is left devastated by their loss.  

Children at greater risk from dangerous dogs than ever before

Children at greater risk from dangerous dogs than ever before

There has been an alarming rise in the number of children needing hospital treatment for dog attacks in the UK in the past 12 months, according to data recently released by the Health and Social Care Information Centre. 

New figures revealed that 6,450 people were admitted in the 12 months to April 2012, up from 6,130 the year before.

Children aged under 10 were the worst-affected group, accounting for one in six of admissions.

Of the 1,040 admissions for this group of youngsters, 494 were for plastic surgery and 278 were to the oral and facial surgery unit.

Among adults the rate of admissions to the trauma and orthopaedic treatment speciality was more than triple that of under-10s.

NHS data released a few months ago revealed dogs bite cases in casualty departments reached 6,097 in the year to the end of March 2011. This is up 94 per cent compared to a decade earlier.

HSCIC chief executive Tim Straughan said: ‘Through further analysis, it is also possible to infer a likely distinction in the type of injuries sustained by child and adult victims of dog bites and strikes; with children having a higher rate of admission to the specialities that carry out plastic and specialist facial surgery.’

Postal workers ‘Bite Back’ with union support

CWU’s Bite Back campaign aims to raise awareness about responsible dog ownership and get new laws in place to protect people who are attacked on private property. The union believes the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 is failing to protect both dog owners and attack victims.

Following on from law changes in Scotland and Northern Ireland in 2011 (see our blog post archive for more details), the Welsh Assembly confirmed on July 17 2012 that it will also now legislate to improve dangerous dogs laws…but what about Westminster?

Let’s not hold our breath on this one as the government’s Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme consultation exercise proposed the following exclusion in its approach to dealing with animal attacks:

‘Where the person has been a victim of an animal attack, unless the animal itself was used deliberately to inflict an injury on that person.’  
Two particularly horrific cases cited were the injuries suffered by postmen in Sheffield and Cambridge, both of whom almost lost limbs while carrying out their duties because of the irresponsibility of dog owners.

The union estimates that some 5,000 postal workers and around 400 telecom engineers are attacked by domestic pets each year – these range from minor injuries to the kind of life-threatening incidents suffered by the postmen in Sheffield and Cambridge.

New Royal Mail figures show that 3,100 attacks were recorded on postal workers between April 2011 and April 2012. In the Sheffield case, the owner was prosecuted and jailed, the man who owned two rottweillers that almost tore off the Cambridge postman’s arm escaped legal sanction altogether.

Dave Joyce, CWU health, safety and environment officer, has spearheaded the CWU’s campaign for legal reform and argues:

“It’s outrageous that hard-working and conscientious people, providing a whole range of vital public services have been, effectively, treated the same as criminal trespassers by the law. We desperately need new laws to protect victims and promote responsible dog ownership to prevent attacks taking place.”

Scottish Postal worker bitten for the 18th time…

Fife postman Garry Haldane needed treatment after being bitten by a dog near Dunfermline High School.

The attack, which took place on 25th August this year, was the 18th time in his 20 year career that Mr. Haldane had been bitten by a dog. He was taken the nearby Queen Margaret Hospital for treatment to puncture wounds and bruising.

He said it was “not acceptable” for postal workers to be subjected to animal attacks. A 51-year-old man has been cautioned and charged.

Mr Haldane, a rep for the Communication Workers Union (CWU), has recently been campaigning for postmen to get better protection from dangerous dogs.

In West Fife, postal workers have compiled a list of addresses of dangerous animals after more than 30 dog attacks on Royal Mail employees were reported in the space of 12 months. That figure was up by 74% on the previous year.

 

Bonnar & Company is very experienced in dealing with dog attack claims and we recently settled a case for a victim involved in a particularly horrifying incident.

If you or a member of your family need legal advice folowing a dog attack, please contact us for free confidential consultation.

 

 

The Control of Dogs (Scotland) Act – Scottish editors please note that it came into force last month, by the way…

Despite a deliberately populist headline, the official Scottish Parliament press release on The Control of Dogs (Scotland) Act (see full transcript below) has attracted absolutely no media coverage in Scotland as far as we can tell… 

We think this is a gross oversight, particularly in the wake of the horrific dog attack suffered last week by seven year old Hamilton schoolboy Jude Keir.

Perhaps the press release shouldn’t have been sent out on a Saturday – hardly a ‘hot news’ day – so the lack of coverage is hardly surprising.

This is a real shame to say the least given the fact that this groundbreaking legislation has been praised by all shades of the political spectrum in Scotland and both sides of the border. In our view, the Scottish parliament has lost a golden opportunity to raise public awareness of the new legislation and highlight the zero tolerance of dog owners who allow their animals to attack innocent people.

What we find inexplicable is that the politicians who introduced the bill and supported its progress through the Scottish Parliament did not think it was important to get their message out there and ensure that in the aftermath of Jude’s injuries, the resulting press coverage contained a detailed explanation of the Act and delivered a strong warning to all dog owners about their dog’s behaviour.

The new law, which applies to all public places and private homes now focuses on the deed and not the breed and we sincerely hope that it has the desired effect.  

 

Dog asbos can be issued from today
26/02/2011

Dog owners who allow their pets to become out of control in a public or private place could be issued with a ‘dog control notice’ from today as new legislation comes into force designed to crack down on delinquent dogs and their owners.

The changes to the law come after a Control of Dogs Bill, brought forward by Christine Grahame MSP, was voted through unanimously by the Scottish Parliament last year.

Under the new legislation action can be taken against any dog owner who permits their dog to become out of control.

The Control of Dogs (Scotland) Act 2010 adopts a ‘deed not the breed’ approach in tackling irresponsible dog ownership. It also highlights the central responsibility of the dog owner in controlling behaviour. The aim is to identify out of control dogs at an early stage so that measures to change their behaviour – and that of their owners – can be implemented before any dog becomes a danger to the public.

The 2010 Act also makes a change to the existing criminal offence of allowing your dog to be dangerously out of control. This change is designed to ensure dog owners can be held to account when they fail to take control of dogs who become dangerous and attack.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said:

“Out of control dogs can be a real nuisance in communities across Scotland. What starts off as intimidating or antisocial behaviour can sometimes quickly turn into a potentially dangerous situation.

“The aim of this act is to nip it in the bud at an early stage so that action can be taken against dog owners who allow their pets to become out of control.

This is designed as a preventative regime and we don’t expect thousands of dog control notices to be issued every week.

“That said, irresponsible owners are being given a clear message today that their actions will not be tolerated and they now face consequences if they flout this new law.

“The Scottish Government is committed to ensuring our communities are protected from dangerous dogs, which is why we, along with all other parties, supported the measures contained in Christine Grahame’s Control of Dogs (Scotland) Bill – passed unanimously by the Scottish Parliament last year.

“The provisions contained in this Act will give additional powers to local authorities to take action against out of control of dogs, help improve dog behaviour and place clear responsibilities on dog owners. We hope the implementation of this new legislation will lead to a reduction in the number of dog attacks which continue blight our communities each year.

“A dog owner has to be responsible for their dog at all times, including in their own home. This is especially important when small children are also in the home. The change to the Dangerous Dogs Act offence so a dog owner can be held criminally responsible where a dog is found to be dangerously out of control in any place is to be welcomed as this reinforces the need to be a responsible dog owner and control your dog at all times.”