Rescue Centre Ordered to Pay Compensation to Dog Bite Victim

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An animal rescue centre has been found negligent in a case involving a dog bite injury, and was ordered to pay compensation of €7,500 to the victim.

In November 2009, Rhys Loy of Clongriffin, Dublin was cycling home from school when he was attacked and bitten by a Collie dog who was being walked by its temporary owner, Anecy Sholling. Rhys suffered a shallow laceration to his left leg. He was transported to Children’s University Hospital inTemple Street, where is wound was treated by medical staff. Rhys had to have several follow-up consultations to have the dressings changed.

On behalf of her son, Sinead Byrne consulted solicitors and made a claim for compensation for a dog bite injury against the animal’s owners-Deirdre and Gina Hetherington of the PAWS animal rescue centre in Mullinahone, County Tipperary. She further claimed that the animal was dangerous, and should be put down.

The defendants denied liability for the injuries sustained by Rhys, and claimed that Ms Sholling had adopted the dog several months before the attack. They also claimed that they did not know where the dog was located after he evaded capture by the police officers who were trying to execute the warrant.

Due to the defendants contesting liability, the case was heard in the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin by Mr Justice Raymond Groarke. The judge heard that the dog was not adopted by Ms Sholling, but was being fostered by her, and that it had been returned to the rescue centre following the attack.

As the rescue centre owned the animal at the time of the attack, the judge found Deirdre and Gina Hetherington of the PAWS animal rescue centre negligent. They were ordered to pay €7,500 in compensation to Rhys for his injuries. The judge also added that he did not believe it a coincidence that the dog had escaped from being put down.

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