Rottweiler attack child needs further surgery

With animal lovers raising a petition to save the Rottweiler dog that savaged a four-year-old girl in Matosinhos on Liberty Day (April 25), latest news suggests the child requires further surgery to reconstruct the area of scalp torn from her head.

The child’s father Paulo Fernandes has told reporters that his daughter faces a “complicated recovery” after the ordeal in which the dog attacked her twice.

Inês “still remembers everything of what happened”, he added, which does not in fact put words to the extent of trauma that the child will have been through.

Inês’ mother Águeda is also likely to need surgery to her arm, said Fernandes, as she was bitten “right through to the bone” as she tried in vain to protect her daughter. Águeda Fernandes currently has two drains in place, to help reduce swelling.

But for now concerns are with the next steps of Inês’ recovery. The reconstruction of missing scalp will have to be done with skin tissue – suggesting doctors will have to take grafts from other area’s of the child’s body.

Meantime, Observador website reports that the legal stipulation that owners of dangerous dogs must seek specialist training from accredited trainers has counted for nothing since a ministerial order came into effect in 2015.

A press notice sent out by the Ministry of Internal Administration suggests the law stipulating specialist training was actually passed two years earlier.

Whatever the case, no courses have been held.

The reason, says Observador, is that no one knew what to charge for them. This lapse has now been rectified, and courses will now start being held.

But the grim reality is that just in the first few months of this year, there have been 65 reported attacks by dangerous dogs.

In 2016, the total number of attacks came to 235 – with 284 victims, says Observador – adding that current data shows that there are 1,606 dangerous dogs in Portugal (click here for details of dogs considered dangerous), and 19,382 regarded as breeds that are ‘potentially dangerous’.

As we reported yesterday, two further attacks on children were reported in the 48 hours after the Matosinhos attack.

In one, the owner of the ‘potentially dangerous’ dog involved has said she will be putting her animal down.

Elsewhere, animal-lovers have responded in rapidly increasing numbers to an online petition set up to plead for the life of the Rottweiler that attacked Inês and her mother.

As we wrote this article, over 13,000 people had signed the petition (click here) which sets out in no uncertain terms that animals’ behaviour must be blamed on the owners, and not the animals themselves.

In this case, it has already been widely stressed that the dog’s owner Márcio Lourenço has a police record for aggression and is already awaiting trial on other matters.

The petition calls for Lourenço to be charged for not complying with the law for owners of dangerous dogs, while it asks for the dog to be sent for rehabilitation and specialist re-education.

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