Mum recalls horror of dog attack on tot

Published Friday, 21 February 2014
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A mum whose little boy was badly bitten by her friend's Patterdale terrier has spoken to This Morning about the ordeal, as experts urge responsible ownership to cut down on dog attacks.

Mum recalls horror of dog attack on tot
Rachel Besau and her son Archie talk to This Morning about the dog attack. (© Ken McKay)

Rachel Besau's son Archie was just two when he was attacked by a dog in the home of a family friend. The animal had never been aggressive before and no one imagined it would turn on the child.

"I just heard Archie scream out," Rachel said, describing how she found her son covered in blood.

"I was a bit hysterical, screaming for an ambulance."

It can be a common misconception that children are only at risk from bigger dogs, but even small animals can give a nasty bite.

In Archie's case, he required surgery to stitch his upper lip back together - although, three years on, his scars are barely visible.

"I think I'm more scared now of the children around dogs than the children themselves are," Rachel admitted, adding that her son is also nervous around strange dogs they may meet in the street.

The Dangerous Dogs Act (1991) which bans four breeds of dogs has been an epic disaster. One of those four is the pitbull terrier - we seem to have more of those now than we had in 1991.

Clarissa Baldwin, Dogs Trust

In the wake of a regent tragedy in which a six-day-old baby girl was killed by the family pet, dog experts are urging owners to always be aware of the risks when it comes to children.

Clarissa Baldwin from the Dogs Trust is keen to point out that millions of dogs are much-loved pets who live happily without incident in family homes.

But the guidance regarding animals and children needs to be heeded.

"Dogs are good for us, let's remember that - if they're treated correctly," she told This Morning.

Clarissa notes that dogs who are made to feel uncomfortable by the presence of young children are limited in how to communicate those feelings - prompting them to perhaps snap.

"The only way the dog can communicate is to take a bite. With a Yorkshire terrier, it's only tiny. But with a bigger dog, of course, it's a bigger bite," she said.

"If the dog looks nervous at all, I would keep them very much apart."

Clarissa also hopes that better legislation in future will help discourage irresponsible dog ownership - including compulsory microchipping and the ability to prosecute over attacks in private homes.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Belfast in Belfast wrote (338 days ago):
I cant agree more with johnny. I dont buy the sun but i saw on fb the front page of it headlining 'BUY A KILLER PITBULL ONLINE FOR £50' It has to be time for people to realise that imstead of using the pitbull as a scapegoat for all these tragedies , we need to look at the owners instead of this poor misconcieved breed. A recent study in the US stated that the pitbull came 2nd to golden retriever in the temperment test , a pitbull is a beautiful dog, and no different from any other , banning a breed for 1 dogs crime is like jailing me for another mans crime , The time is now that we be the voice of this gorgeous animal ! Ban the ignorance instead
Niall in Tyrone wrote (341 days ago):
Is it me or are all dogs being demonised? Are people that stupid to leave small children alone with a a dog in a confined space? Step up and be responsible
Marie in Belfast wrote (341 days ago):
I believe the thing that needs to be addressed in Northern Ireland is the amount of dogs that roam freely in the streets. My child was almost attacked by a vicious dog while walking in the street. If it hadn't been for the quick actions of a passerby my three year old could have been maimed. However despite a vast amount of complaints to the dog warden from myself that same dog is still roaming the streets today.
irene in omagh wrote (341 days ago):
its the owners fault not the dog , and no one should leave a young child or a baby alone with any dog , its common sense really at the end of the day.
Animal lover in Belfast wrote (341 days ago):
Totally agree Jonny. Time to stop blaming the wrong end of the lead.
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