The family of a young boy who was savagely attacked by a pit bull in Co Wexford have said “he will never be the same again”.
Nine-year-old Alejandro Miszan was playing football with his friends on the green of the Old Forge Road estate in Enniscorthy on Sunday afternoon when he was set upon by the dog.
He is currently in Crumlin children’s hospital in a serious condition.
His older brother, Raul (21), told Independent.ie that his younger brother now has no lower lip left, cannot eat or breathe by himself and a tube has had to be inserted into his neck.
The family provided photos of his injuries but they are too graphic to publish.
Locals in the area are in shock and are “absolutely disgusted” that the same dog that attacked the nine-year-old is suspected of being involved in another less serious attack just four days beforehand.
That incident was also reported to gardaí who confirmed the child received non-life-threatening injuries. Enquiries are ongoing.
Raul Miszan said his parents are “heartbroken” and thanked the people who came to his brother’s rescue.
He said one man used a baseball bat to fend the dog off.
“If it wasn’t for them, maybe Alejandro would not be here,” he said.
“You don’t let a dangerous dog around kids. Kids can’t defend themselves. I think my brother is a very strong boy for his age. We just hope for the best but he will never be the same again.
“We just have to have a moment to think what he felt when the dog attacked him. The two or three minutes he was fighting, just imagine how he felt. He is just nine years old. He doesn’t know how to defend himself. We just thank God he is still alive.
We could hear him screaming outside
“I’m afraid that when he goes to school or plays with kids he will be bullied because of the way he looks.”
The attack happened on Sunday afternoon. Gardaí and emergency services attended the scene and Alejandro had to be airlifted to hospital in Dublin by the Irish Coast Guard’s Rescue 117 helicopter.
The dog was subsequently put down.
However, the parents of another young boy who is believed to have been attacked by the same dog last Wednesday said it should “never have happened”.
“That incident was a big warning sign,” one neighbour said.
The father of the young boy said had he not been wearing a big puffy hood on his jacket pulled over his head the attack could have resulted in much worse injuries.
“We could hear him screaming outside,” he said.
“He was very lucky. He has some marks on his face and his neck.”
A garda spokesperson said of the previous incident: “Gardaí responded to reports of an incident involving a dog and a child in Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, on the evening November 23, 2022.
“The child received non-life threatening injuries during the incident.”
Raul Miszan is now calling for owners to “take responsibility” for their dogs.
“Who will pay for my mother’s tears, my father’s tears? What about Alejandro? The dog died. What if my brother dies? I like animals and I am not trying to be mean but just saying.
“My brother’s face is in bits. He doesn’t have a lip, it’s completely in bits. His legs, his tummy, it is all in bits. Who will pay for all this?
“My parents are devastated. It is a disaster. We are afraid he won’t feel the same about himself. He doesn’t know how he looks now and we are afraid about when he will see himself.
“I want justice. I don’t know where this will go but hopefully the guards will do their job.”
Gardaí confirmed their enquiries into the attack are ongoing.
My little girl has been barely able to speak since it happened
The Miszan family are originally from Romania and have been living in Ireland for a number of years.
Raul previously won a world title boxing fight in Belfast in 2020 and said the family have really enjoyed their time in Ireland.
However, he said now he doesn’t know if his parents can face staying here after what happened.
"Everybody is so upset. It is a very bad situation,” he said.
Parents in the area told how their children who witnessed the mauling have been left “traumatised”.
“My little girl has been barely able to speak since it happened,” one mother said.
“Dogs shouldn’t be allowed to roam around like that.”
In Ireland, laws introduced in 1998 imposed restrictions on 11 different breeds of dog including American pit bull terriers, English bull terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers, Rottweilers, German shepherds (alsatians), bull mastiffs, Doberman pinschers, Rhodesian ridgebacks, Japanese akitas, Japanese tosas and any dogs which are a cross of the above.
Included in the restrictions are that the animals be muzzled while in public and held on a strong lead by a person above the age of 16.
Earlier this year a child had to be rushed to hospital after a dog attack in south Dublin.
The young boy was attacked in his own home by a dog believed to be a cross between a pit bull and a Presa Canario.
The city council had to call in a lion expert after fears the animal would be too dangerous to handle and a tranquiliser gun was used to sedate the animal.
The dog was later put down.
In Tipperary, a young woman was hospitalised for a number of days following an attack in Carrick-on-Suir in February.
She was out walking her two dogs when they were attacked by what are believed to have been pit bull terriers. The woman underwent a number of surgical procedures.
The Irish Independent previously reported how there has been a rise in the number of dog attacks on humans and other dogs in the last five years.
There were 1,705 attacks on people reported between 2016 and 2021.
There were 250 attacks in 2016, 253 in 2017, 294 in 2018, 302 in 2019, 277 in 2020 and 329 in 2021.
Dogs Trust Ireland launched a “Be Dog Safe” campaign earlier this year after learning that 320 people were hospitalised in 2020 due to dog bites.
You can donate to a Go Fund Me for Alejandro Miszan here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/just-playing-with-his-friends