Lawyers Call For Dog Owners To Ensure Dogs Are Controlled In Public Places
Law firm Irwin Mitchell is urging dog owners to ensure they control their dogs in public places following an incident involving three Staffordshire Bull Terriers that left a 13-year-old boy permanently disfigured.
The call comes as the firm supports Child Safety Week, which runs from 20 to 26 June and is the Child Accident Prevention Trust’s annual flagship community education campaign. Dog bite experts at law firm Irwin Mitchell believe that many dog attacks could be avoided if owners simply took more care while walking their dogs in public.
Schoolboy Kane Thomas, 13, was leaving a block of flats in Greenwich, South East London, on 2 March 2011, when he was viciously attacked by a gang of three dogs.
The dogs, which were not on leads, barked and jumped at the young boy before turning on him when he tried to defend himself. Whilst attempting to run away Kane was bitten on the leg by one of the dogs, before being dragged to the ground by the animal.
Meanwhile, the owner who was responsible for the dogs did not intervene, and simply looked on as a passer-by attempted to release the boy from the dog’s bite. Police are currently investigating the incident.
Alicia Townsend, a serious injury specialist at law firm Irwin Mitchell, said: “Although the vast majority of dog owners are responsible, dog bites are becoming an all too regular occurrence, particularly amongst children. The injuries sustained by people bitten by dangerous dogs not sufficiently controlled by their owners are often horrific and can cause lasting mental and physical scars.
“This particular incident highlights the damage that can be done if dogs are allowed to run loose in public places. These three dogs should not have been allowed off the lead in accommodation where members of the public are frequently passing by.
“Irwin Mitchell has also repeatedly called for a change in the law which would provide a better level of protection to the public. This could take the form of reintroducing dog licences and compulsory insurance for dogs, as these would particularly be useful in ensuring pets in the UK can be both properly identified and registered. This would also help victims of dog attacks as seek justice over the injuries they have suffered.”
As a result of his injuries Kane was taken to the University Hospital of Lewisham, and he was then transferred to St Thomas’ where he required skin grafts and underwent a number of operations to repair the damage done to his leg. He is currently still receiving ongoing treatment, and has been left permanently disfigured by the incident.
Kane’s Mother, Danielle Thomas, said: “Kane will remember this attack for the rest of his life and the scars will be an unwelcome reminder. It was vicious and brutal and we fully support any measures to help control dogs so that others don’t suffer as my son has.”
Urpeth added: “Child Safety Week is about trying to prevent accidents from occurring. It is about creating safer environments to enable children to thrive and lead a healthy active life. A large part of this is ensuring that dogs are correctly controlled, especially around children.
“Owners must bear in mind that any animal has the potential to behave unpredictably in any given situation, and it is vital that owners control and secure their pets in public to avoid accidents where people can get hurt.”