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Dog attack on holidaymaker

A SIX-YEAR-OLD girl was left ‘caked in blood and screaming’ after being savaged by two dogs during a family holiday in Northern Ireland.

Sophia Kimpton’s ears were torn and her arms badly mauled in the attack, which ended when her mother fought off the dogs, both Rottweilers.

The family, from London, were staying in a holiday chalet on a working farm near Dervock, Bally-money, Co Antrim, when the attack happened last week. The dogs were shot dead by their owner, the farmer who owns the chalet, after the attack.

Sophia sustained 17 injuries to her head, arms and back, including lacerations and puncture wounds. She underwent emergency surgery at the Ulster Hospital in Dundonald.

Mrs Beckett said she thought that her daughter was going to die as she and her husband frantically kicked at the dogs to get them to drop the girl. ‘We were yelling to get them off and they were not budging. My husband was kicking one of them; I was kicking the other one off. They were just attached to her head.’

Sophia managed to turn around and keep her head away from the dogs, an act which probably saved her from far worse injury.

Mrs Beckett has queried whether the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, which approved the Conagher chalets as family accommodation, was aware that the owner kept dogs. The board said it was shocked to learn of the attack and had suspended the farm’s listing pending an investigation. The chalet owners declined to comment on the matter.

Several national newspapers made a point of reporting that Rottweilers are not one of the four breeds outlawed in the UK by the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 and have speculated that this latest attack is likely to reopen the debate on whether Rottweilers should join American Pit Bull Terriers, Japanese Tosas, Dogo Argentinos and Fila Brasileiros on the banned list.

Dogs Trust, the UK's largest dog welfare charity, said that it was deeply saddened to hear of the attack on Sophia Kimpton in County Antrim and await to hear the results of the investigation into this attack. However the charity urged people not to panic about the nature of Rottweilers.
Dogs Trust Chief Executive, Clarissa Baldwin, commented: ‘Dogs will not generally attack unless provoked to do so. The degree of provocation required will vary between individuals. The manner in which a dog is reared and trained is the greatest factor that influences the likelihood of aggression and so owners have a responsibility to train and supervise their dogs properly.
Properly trained Rottweilers are no more likely to show aggression than any other breed of dog and are fantastic family pets. We are urging people not to suddenly abandon their dogs for fear of attack.’

In the past following dog attacks the charity has seen an increase in the number of dogs of that, or similar, breeds being abandoned. Dogs that have been with families for years as well as newly rehomed dogs are being left to fend for themselves or find new homes as the alarm escalates.