Attack Victim Meets Therapy Dog

Dog Attack Victim

23.06.2008

Police have used a 'therapy' dog to help the young victim of a dog attack recover from the mental scars of her ordeal.

Six-year-old girl Chanelle Sommerville, from north-west London, is the first victim to be given the treatment by the combined team from the Met, Brent Council and The Mayhew Animal Home. Should it prove a success, the scheme will be rolled out in Camden, Hammersmith and Fulham and Barnet.

Chanelle was bitten seven times by a dog which had escaped from its owner. She suffered such bad injuries that she had to have extensive facial reconstructive surgery and ongoing physiotherapy.

As part of the scheme, Brent Action for Responsible K9s (BARK) brought Channelle into supervised contact with a dog for the first time since the attack.

The size of the dog will be gradually increased as she becomes more confident.

PC Simon Underwood, said: "We are trying to go some way in reinstating that love she once had for our canine friends.

"We believe that this is a great starting block, for Chanelle on the way to recovery by way of control and supervised interaction with the 'therapy' dogs."

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Katrina Elsey from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: It is encouraging to see action being taken to assist people to overcome fears of dogs since they have been bitten. It is a terrifying experience being bitten by a dog and victims are undoubtedly going to be wary of dogs since their attack. It is important that children are educated in how to act around dogs.