Belfast Telegraph

Dog attack on our boy was nobody's fault, say parents

BY DERIC HENDERSON

The parents of a little boy mauled by a teacher's pet dog have said they do not blame anybody for the school playground attack.

Darwin and Valerie Stevenson declared: "It was an accident, pure and simple."

Their five-year-old son Jamie needed emergency hospital treatment for facial injuries when the dog turned on him as he stroked it at Carniny Primary School, Ballymena, on Friday.

The attack happened just hours before the school term ended for the summer break. The husky-type dog, which was owned by a teacher, was later humanely destroyed. It had been brought in by the teacher as an end-of-term treat.

Jamie is back at his Co Antrim home after receiving 60 stitches for his horrific injuries at the Ulster Hospital in Dundonald.

Mr and Mrs Stevenson said the P1 pupil could not remember a great deal about the incident.

They said: "Jamie is feeling a lot better. We would like to make it clear that no one is to blame for the injuries to Jamie. It was an accident, pure and simple, and as a family we do not blame anyone.

"Our focus is on ensuring Jamie makes a full recovery. We would like to thank everyone who has offered their support. We would really appreciate it if everyone would now respect our family privacy."

The Alaskan Malamute dog was under supervision by four adults in an enclosed playground at the school. The children had been lined up one-by-one to pet the animal.

Speaking after the incident on Friday, school principal Raymond Ross said the dog was jumping around when it suddenly turned on one child and "caught him in the face".

The North Eastern Education and Library Board, the PSNI and the Health and Safety Executive are all investigating.

BACKGROUND

Jamie Stevenson (5) was enjoying his last day of P1 at Carniny Primary in Ballymena when he was attacked by a dog. He was petting an Alaskan Malamute, owned by one of the school's teachers, when it turned on him and caught him in the face. The boy received 60 stitches for horrific facial injuries but is now recovering well at home with his family.

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