By: NATASHA SMITH
A PITBULL terrier attacked a 12-year-old boy on Friday afternoon in Lagoa, causing serious damage to his hands and fingers. This is the second reported attack in the Algarve this month and in both cases the victims were children.
Marcos Vinícios had been walking to the library at around 2.50pm when the dog attacked him near the municipal market.
A witness told The Resident that he heard shouting and saw the boy on the floor struggling with the dog. A female passer-by tried to get the dog off him by hitting it and shouting.
When it finally released Marcos’ arm, the witness said the boy got up in a state
of shock and walked for around 20 metres before collapsing.
Lagoa Bombeiros transported the boy to Portimão hospital and he was later transferred to Santa Maria hospital in Lisbon, according to a hospital spokesman.
Doctors managed to re-attach Marcos’ thumb that had been severed during the attack and the hospital source said it should be functional but not the same.
His left hand was almost completely severed and doctors worked for many hours to re-attach the muscles and blood vessels. The dog’s owner reportedly arrived at the scene minutes after the attack. It is believed that the dog managed to escape from where it was kept through an open gate.
It was taken to Lagoa kennel for 15 days of quarantine, after which the national veterinary authority, Direcção-Geral de Veterinária, will determine whether it will be put down.
A police source said the owner did not have liability insurance for the dog, which is mandatory for animals listed in the potentially dangerous dog register.
Other breeds on this list are Fila Brasileiro, Argentine Dogo, Rottweiler, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier and Tosa Inu.
Owners must be aged 18 or over, have no criminal record and must have a medical certificate to prove their physical and psychological fitness to care for the animals.
The Resident’s veterinarian writer, Dr Scott Miller, said: “Owners have a moral and legal obligation to keep their dogs under control, especially breeds known for fighting and aggression.
“Better socialisation and training in the very early stages of puppy parenting will help curb aggressive tendencies”, he said adding: “Strong leads and comfortable muzzles are necessary.”
Staff at the veterinary clinic in Guia told The Resident that owners of potentially dangerous dogs should look out for “signs of dominance”, especially when it comes to animals trying to control food.
Marcos is said to be stable but there are no indications as to when he may be released.
A Portuguese toddler, who was attacked by a Rottweiler in Loulé on February 14, is due to be released from Faro hospital today (Friday).
The 20-month-old girl sustained seriously head and face injuries in the attack by the family dog and neurosurgeons and plastic surgeons operated on her for several hours.
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