SCANDAL OF SCOTLAND’S DANGEROUS DOGS

Mother says her child was scarred for life after attack by dangerous dog

Ryan Booth
Ryan Booth’s ear was torn off in the attack. Ryan’s ear has been left disfigured from the 2015 attack

By Democrat reporter

A mother has told how her six-year-old son’s ear was torn off by two dogs that were kept off the leash.

Claire Booth was out walking with son Ryan near their home across the Erskine Bridge in in Bishopton,  when she says two English bull terriers came “from nowhere” and “dragged him around the ground”.

Four years on, the mother says her family are still wary of open spaces.

It comes as a Scottish Parliament committee claimed that dog control legislation is “not fit for purpose”.

Recalling the attack, Ms Booth told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland: “From a distance the owner of the two dogs were shouting ‘don’t worry they won’t hurt you’.

“But as I managed to get Ryan up, his left ear had been bitten off – his earlobe had been detached from his head. There was blood everywhere, his whole face was distorted.

“He had a bite to his elbow, a bite to his hip and teeth marks embedded on his forehead. His whole face was bruised and battered, his whole body was bruised and battered.

“As a result of that Ryan has now got another three surgeries to face to rebuild his ear and he’s now terrified of dogs. We are getting over that now but it has taken nearly four years for that to happen.”

Although they did not witness the attack, Ryan’s siblings are also scared of dogs having heard about the trauma he went through.

Ms Booth said she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder following the incident in 2015.

The dog’s owner was prosecuted and received the maximum community service.

Although they did not witness the attack, Ryan’s siblings are also scared of dogs having heard about the trauma he went through.

Ms Booth said she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder following the incident in 2015.

The dogs’ owner was prosecuted and received the maximum community service sentence. One dog was destroyed, but the other was given a control order which was never followed up.

Ms Booth said: “I felt it was farcical because the owner of the dog moved away to another area which means the dog control order was never followed up – the dog wardens didn’t know where they were.

“The owner was supposed to take it to behavioural classes, have it on the lead at all times and be muzzled at all times – but nobody knows if that happened or not.”English Bull Terrier

New laws were introduced in Scotland in 2010 but MSPs recently heard evidence there was still an “unacceptably high prevalence of dog attacks”.

Holyrood’s post-legislative scrutiny committee said they considered it to be “nothing less than a national crisis”.

MSPs said the impact on victims, particularly on children, could be life-changing.

The Control of Dogs Act 2010 was introduced to promote responsible dog ownership but the committee said it was not working.

Its report called on the Scottish government to undertake a comprehensive review of all dog control laws immediately.

Committee convener Jenny Marra said: “There are still far too many dog attacks on children and little enforcement or understanding of the current laws that might prevent these attacks.”

She called for urgent reform so that dangerous dogs can be dealt with properly.

The 2010 legislation brought in a new regime of “dog control notices” to impose measures on the people who do not keep their dog under control.

It gave Scottish ministers the power to establish a national database of dog control notices so information could be shared across the country.

The MSPs said the failure of ministers to use its powers was a “missed opportunity”.

They also said there were too few dog control wardens to enforce the current law and a lack of awareness of how it worked.

The committee said that police, hospitals and local authorities were not keeping consistent data on dog attacks.

Earlier this year, the Holyrood Committee heard that thousands of people are treated each year by hospital emergency departments for dog-related injuries.

Ms Booth was among parents who told the committee about the horrific attacks endured when owners acted irresponsibly.

The committee also heard from Radio Clyde journalist Natalie Crawford who initiated a campaign to keep dogs on leads in public places.

She discovered that Glasgow City Council – Scotland’s largest local authority – until recently had just one part-time dog warden and that there had been no dog control notices issued in a three-year period.

West Dunbartonshire Council refuse to comment to The Dumbarton Democrat.


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