Liberty Day’s horror in Matosinhos which left a four-year-old disfigured from an attack on a public street by a Rottweiler that was not on a lead, nor muzzled, was only the first of a series of horrific incidents involving poorly supervised dogs.
In Arouca, a nine-year-old boy lost an ear to a family pet – purportedly a Serra da Estrela cross (Serra da Estrela cattle dogs are not on the dangerous dogs list but have been dubbed ‘potentially dangerous’), and in Ílhavo a three-year-old boy needed surgery to his face, again after being bitten by a breed also considered potentially dangerous (Cão de Fila de São Miguel/ São Miguel cattle dog).
The grandmother of the Ílhavo child, owner of the dog, said she is devastated by what happened and will be putting her usually sociable pet down within the next two weeks.
But the worst story was the first.
Little Inês Fernandes lost part of her scalp in the horrendous attack, and is still recovering in hospital.
The owner of the Rottweiler is described as a 23-year-old man who has a number of police convictions – “replete with situations of aggression” – already bound to remain in his area of residence over cases that have yet to get to trial.
Despite the latest offence of ‘circulating in a public street with a dangerous dog that was not in compliance with the rules of law’, a Matosinhos judge has kept the young man’s bail conditions as they were before the attack.
National tabloid Correio da Manhã reports that Márcio Lourenço learnt that he was to remain free and unhampered by any new restrictions at a court hearing at which both Inês’ father and journalists were present.
He refused to give any kind of statement to reporters, and apparently ignored Fernandes, who was “weeping copiously”.
“The dog’s owner did not approach him or try to console him”, said the paper.
No apology either, appears to have been forthcoming.
CM adds that the wall near the town’s mortuary by which Inês and her mother were attacked still bears the mark of bloodstains.
Agueda Fernandes is also likely to require surgery for the damage she sustained to one of her arms as she tried to protect her daughter.
The Rottweiler meantime remains at the municipal pound.
CM says it will be a matter for the court to decide whether or not the dog should be put to sleep.