Northern Ireland binman 'lucky to be alive' after vicious attack by Akita dog
A council worker needed 50 stitches to his face after being mauled by a dog while collecting bins.
The refuse worker, who does not want to be identified, had part of his ear ripped off and his face and neck bitten during the frenzied attack by a Japanese Akita on Wednesday in the Bogside in Londonderry.
He required the stitches and suffered nerve damage. He now faces the prospect of reconstructive surgery.
Derry City and Strabane DUP councillor Graham Warke visited the victim in hospital.
"This man was absolutely terrified by the experience. He is in a bad way. He doesn't remember much about it," he said.
"He says when he saw the amount of blood that was there, he thought he was going to die and just went into shock. He received 50 stitches in a gash on his face and doctors think there is also some nerve damage."
Mr Warke added the man was "extremely lucky" to be alive.
"A few inches lower and the dog could have severed a major artery and he would have been dead," he said.
"He has life-changing injuries and now faces skin grafts and reconstructive surgery."
Mr Warke said dog owners must be cautious and not let their animals roam the streets.
"If this was a young child who had have been attacked I have no doubt in my mind that we would have been looking at a fatality," he added.
"People say dogs are safe, and I'm sure owners think this would never happen to them, but dogs are unpredictable. There are dogs out there in the street and as much as people think that they are their family pet, they could just turn in an instance.
"I'm sure for this gentleman and his co-workers they would never have imagined something like this would ever happen and they are all in shock.
"He has served this council for 20 years and, as he recovers from this horrific incident, our thoughts remain with him."
Derry City and Strabane District Council confirmed a staff member from its refuse collection services was attacked on Wednesday.
"The staff member was taken to Altnagelvin Hospital where he was treated for his injuries before being discharged," it said.
"The incident is currently being investigated by the relevant agencies."