Northern Ireland news

Family of mauled girl welcome dog owner's jail term

Annie McFadden with her mother Patricia. Picture by Mal McCann.
Marie Louise McConville

THE family of a child left with lifelong scars after she was mauled by a dog have welcomed the jail term handed down to its owner, saying they hope it will bring them “closure”.

North Belfast girl Annie McFadden (nine) underwent surgery and needed 80 stitches to her head and body after she was attacked by an American Bulldog-type dog in May 2019.

The St Patrick’s Primary pupil was attacked near Girdwood Community Hub. Witnesses saw the dog shake and trail her by the hair. At one point she fled but the animal shook off a chain put round its neck and attacked her again.

Her family were told that a wound on her chest was just 2cm from piercing her heart.

In the aftermath of the attack concerns were raised in The Irish News about the whereabouts of the animal. Belfast City Council said the case remained a priority for the dog warden team and that investigations were ongoing.

Yesterday Wayne McGrath, of Marsden Gardens in Belfast, was jailed for four months in relation to the attack.

Annie McFadden who was injured after she was mauled by a dog last year. Picture by Mal McCann.

The 47-year-old admitted charges of being the keeper of a dog and causing it unnecessary suffering after he told police he bludgeoned the animal with a hammer and burned the remains.

At Belfast Magistrates Court yesterday, District Judge George Conner described his actions as “appalling”.

Last night Patricia McFadden said the attack had a lasting effect on her daughter Annie, who made her First Communion the following week.

She said that although the sentence would not change what happened, “it will bring a bit of closure for what she has been through”.

“I’m glad he got jailed,” she said.

“He deserves it. My child was jailed in the house for five months afterwards, the way she felt.”

Mrs McFadden said she left work in the aftermath of the attack due to anxiety and panic attacks.

“She could have been killed,” she said.

“I am so glad he is banned from keeping animals. I wouldn’t want this to happen any other child.

“It will help me knowing he will not have another dog.”

COURT REPORT P4

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