Back home, little boy mauled in schoolyard by teacher's dog
Published 01/07/2013 | 01:30
A young boy bitten in the face by a dog that was brought to his school as an end-of-term treat is back home with his family.
Five-year-old Jamie Stevenson underwent emergency surgery in a Belfast hospital after he was attacked by an Alaskan Malamute dog in the playground of his Ballymena school on Friday.
He is said to be recovering well after needing 60 stitches for his horrific injuries.
The dog, which had been brought into Carniny Primary School in Ballymena by a teacher, was under supervision by four adults in an enclosed playground as the children lined up one-by-one to pet the animal.
School principal Raymond Ross said the dog was jumping and playing around when it suddenly turned on one child and "caught him in the face".
"Everyone at the school is very upset about this," he added.
The North Eastern Education and Library Board, the police and Health and Safety Executive are all investigating the incident and the dog has since been destroyed.
P1 pupil Jamie was left in a serious condition and underwent emergency surgery late on Friday evening.
The family, which runs an undertaking business in the town, were said to be delighted to have their son home so soon after the attack.
Relatives have said the boy's parents, Darwin and Valerie, do not "blame" the teacher for the incident and feel it was "just one of those things".
Ballymena Sinn Fein councillor Monica Digney said she will be raising serious concerns about her difficulties in trying to get information from Ballymena Borough Council about the incident.
She said queries she made were directed to an outside public relations company.
She told the Belfast Telegraph she was angry about the move and would raise her concerns at tonight's council meeting.
She said: "Firstly my thoughts go to the poor family, the poor teacher involved and especially the poor child who was attacked and could have been maimed for life.
"I am delighted to hear that he has been allowed to return home and only hope he makes a full recovery.
"We have to look at seriously introducing a law that requires big dogs, such as the one involved in this attack, to be muzzled.
"These types of attacks are happening too often and our first thoughts should always be toward the safety of the children when bringing any animal into a school.
"It has to be asked why the council is using or needs an outside PR company and how much it costs the Ballymena ratepayer?"