Belfast Telegraph

Akita dog that savaged Northern Ireland binman had shown aggression to children

By Donna Deeney

A refuse collector who was mauled by a Japanese Akita dog has said he was horrified to find out the animal had previously been aggressive to two children.

The man required over 60 stitches to wounds on his face after the dog leapt at him while he was collecting bins in the Bogside area of Londonderry last January.

The Derry City and Strabane Council employee has since returned to work, but said he has been left with mental as well as physical scars.

A report into the attack, which was brought to a council meeting last week, revealed the dog was destroyed after the incident and its owner prosecuted.

However, it also revealed that no action was taken when the same dog previously was involved in an incident involving two children.

The exact detail of the incident was not contained in the report, but it is understood neither child was bitten.

At the time a number of conditions were imposed on the owner, including that the dog must be kept on a lead and kept in a secure area, which he was adhering to, the report noted.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, the council worker, who did not wish to be identified, said he was shocked to discover he was not the first person the dog had approached.

"I was told this dog had never attacked anybody else but now it turns out it attacked two children," he said.

"I don't know if the dog bit anybody before or not, but that is irrelevant as far as I am concerned - that dog attacked two children before it bit me.

"The next person might not be as lucky as me.

"I am back at work again but I am very nervous when I see stray dogs or dogs not on leads."

He continued: "Mentally I went through a bad time, I had to get therapy to help me get over what happened to me which has helped, but I am still very anxious if I see a dog that isn't on a lead.

"I came out the other side of this attack but I was bitten very close to my jugular vein and the paramedics told me I wouldn't be here if it had been there, so in a way I was lucky."

He warned, however, that the public could be still be at risk from other dogs.

"There are too many dogs running around this city that have no one taking responsibility for them, and maybe the next person might not be a lucky as me," he said.

"I have the scars, not just the physical scars which are there for the rest of my life but also the mental scars."

Meanwhile, DUP councillor Graham Warke said that the report to council raised serious issues about aggressive dogs which need to be addressed.

"I was very alarmed to find out the dog that attacked this council worker had a history of attacks, even if these were not as serious," he said.

"I have serious questions about how many other dogs the council is aware of that have showed signs of aggression, which I intend to bring to the next full council meeting," he added.

Belfast Telegraph

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