Dad Calls For A Ban On Devil Dogs Kept For Pets

An Ulster father last night called for a ban on keeping potentially killer dogs as pets after his little girl was horrifically mauled. Co Antrim man Sean Boyle warned that tough new laws are needed to protect young children from the terrifying ordeal suffered by his seven-year-old daughter Hannah.

And he pleaded to the Government to make the changes as soon as possible to prevent another child being savaged. Mr Boyle, who is originally from Armoy but who now lives in England, told the Belfast Telegraph how his little girl could have been killed after she was attacked by a Japanese Aikita dog last June.

Mr Boyle and his family were on holiday in Co Antrim when the attack occurred. Hannah’s injuries were so severe she had to be hospitalised for a week and spent several months recovering.
She had been bitten on the forehead and neck and her face was mauled on one side.

This month, a north Antrim court ordered the dog to be destroyed following a legal battle waged by Mr Boyle. However, he has warned that Ulster’s Dangerous Dogs Act is not strong enough, and that other small children could be at risk.

“The legislation has to be changed, the burden of proof should be on the owner of the animal to prove that the dog is not dangerous. It is always children who suffer in these attacks because they are vulnerable and trusting, and dangerous dogs look on them as prey. The Government stopped with Pit Bulls, but other dangerous dogs like the Aikita must be banned. They are killer dogs being kept as family pets.”

Mr Boyle added: “My family has been so lucky because my daughter could have been killed. When I look at her scars I just think back to that day and how close we came to losing her. I thought she was going to die. She even said to her mummy in the hospital that she thought she was going to die.”

Mr Boyle said the attack had a profound affect on his little girl. “It affected her both physically and emotionally. For quite some time there was a lot of swelling and her wounds hurt. She did not take PE for months. It also affected her confidence. For a long time every time she saw that type of dog she would get scared.”

Thankfully, the horrific attack has not made the seven-year-old permanently wary of other dogs. According to Mr Boyle, Hannah loves them. “She is remarkably resilient,” he said. “We have a Spinner Spaniel and she and her sister play with it all the time. She is very good. She loves animals. I think this whole thing probably affected me more than her. However, she is scared of that breed of dog. When she sees one she hides behind me.”