Belfast Telegraph

Dog bites through child's ear in attack in Northern Ireland

By Michael Sheils McNamee

The mother of a Londonderry child that required surgery after being bitten by a dog has spoken about the shock of her son's attack.

The incident happened at Aisling O'Hagan's home in the Creggan Heights area of the city on Wednesday while her son Riley was playing in the back garden.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, the mother-of-four explained that she had noticed a strange dog that she didn’t recognise approaching the fence of her home.

"I noticed the dog because the kids were out the back playing. It was probably in heat, because I went over to chase it away a couple of times but it kept growling at me," she said.

"I told the kids to stay away from it. but my wee one was climbing the fence."

The dog's bite went through Riley's ear and he was rushed to Altnagelvin Area Hospital to undergo surgery on the wound.

Despite the seriousness of Riley's injury, Aisling is aware that things could have been much worse.

"If it had of gotten him by the throat, if Riley had been a bit lower - you can't say what would have happened. He is going to be scarred for life anyway, but it could have been his throat or his face," she said.

Riley is now recovering at home, but still hasn't gotten over the shock of the incident.

"I think part of why it happened is because I have a dog in the house and it’s a friendly dog. He probably thought all dogs are like that. He seems OK, but if there's a strange dog or anything he won't go out now. So he won't really go out the front."

She added that the dog appeared to be well-groomed and had a collar, but that she didn’t know who the owner was.

Local independent councillor Gary Donnelly, who knows the child's grandfather, has called for dog owners to be more vigilant.

"People who own pets, they need to mind not only for the animal's welfare... If you own a dog and it’s allowed to roam, there is the potential that it could cause harm or damage to people. And this was outlined here," he said.

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