Friday 28 July 2017

Girl, 9, attacked by pitbulls

A nine-year-old girl was recovering today after being bitten by two powerful pitbull-type dogs.

Danielle McAllister suffered injuries to her arm in the attack in the driveway of her home in Gelvin Gardens, Derry, yesterday afternoon.

The attack sparked calls for a speedy crackdown on dangerous dogs.

SDLP Councillor Gerard Diver said: "You have to question the wisdom of keeping these dogs in cities where there are children or vulnerable people around.

"If people are going to put dogs like this out it does a great disservice to people who keep dogs responsibly."

Neighbours used brushes to fight off the animals which were locked on to the child.

She was taken to Altnagelvin Hospital for treatment.

Mr Diver added: "Children must be protected not only at school but on their way home.

"Such attacks are the fault of dog owners who are obviously not taking their responsibilities seriously.

"Indeed, we must reinforce the message among all dog owners that they need to keep their animals under control at all times."

The Assembly in the North is considering dangerous dogs legislation.

The Dogs (Amendment) Bill will introduce compulsory microchipping, and will allow district council wardens to impose controls on dogs where there has been breach of control laws. The Bill will also make it an offence to allow a dog to attack and injure another person's dog.

Earlier this year Agriculture Minister Michelle Gildernew said: "I am maintaining the prohibition on certain breeds of dangerous dogs and will bring forward subordinate legislation to introduce further strict exemption conditions aimed specifically at protecting children.

"In addition, new powers for dog wardens to impose control conditions recognise the importance of 'deed' as well as 'breed'."

It is currently being considered by Stormont's Agriculture Committee.

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