Eight-year-old autistic boy attacked by dog|
CROSSMAGLEN, Northern Ireland: A Crossmaglen mum has spoken about the terrifying moment a dog attacked her eight-year-old autistic son.
Little Sean Mines was walking with his mother, Patricia, through the Lismore estate in the South Armagh town when the unprovoked attack happened.
Sean, who suffers from autism and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), was bitten on both legs and his backside and is now afraid to leave the house.
"We were at the shop and came walking up the pathway towards the house," explained Patricia. "Sean was chattering away and I saw a dog sitting by a wall but it wasn't even looking at us. We walked passed the dog and the next thing it started growling and pounced on Sean. I tried to pull the dog off Sean but it wouldn't loosen its grip. His teeth were locked onto Sean's leg.
"Sean was screaming and I was trying to drag the dog off him. Then the owner of the dog came out of her house and called the dog off and it ran in.
"She put the dog into the house and apologised for the attack and told me that the dog would be gone that night, but I told her it would be gone before that because I was ringing the dog warden. The dog warden came out straightaway, but when we went to the owner's house there was no answer."
Terrified Sean has refused to leave the house since the attack happened on March 5. It is believed the dog was a cross between a Labrador and a Spaniel.
Sean's mum said the attack was particularly traumatic for her son due to his autism, which has led to sensory problems for the St Patrick’s PS pupil.
"Sean is very sensitive to touch due to the autism," explained Patricia. "He needs a helper at school and won't let anyone touch him, including myself, so the attack was really terrifying for him."
Patricia said some of her neighbours had refused to walk down the alleyway where the attack took place. She called on dog owners to be aware where their pets were and said they should not be allowed to roam.
"Dogs should be under control at all times," insisted Patricia. "If they are allowed out, they should be on a lead at all times. I have a dog myself and he is kept in at all times and only gets out with his lead on."
Although still recovering from the attack, brave Sean said he still likes dogs.
"It was very scary," he said. "I was panicking when it happened. I don't like mean dogs, but the other ones are OK."
Sinn Fein councillor Terry Hearty urged dog owners to take responsibility for their pets. "This is a very serious incident," he said. "Dog owners must be responsible for their pets.”
(Source: Newry Democrat, March 7, 2007)