Mum calls for new rules for dog owners after five-year-old daughter is bitten on face

A mum has called for new rules for dog owners after her five-year-old was bitten on the face during a trip to the shops.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 20 June, 2019, 16:47
Kacey Smith (5) with the injuries sustained when she was attacked by a dog. Picture by FRANK REID

Vicky Smith had taken Kacey into Houghton to buy some treats for her good behaviour when the youngster bent down to touch a German shepherd.

As her daughter reached down to the dog, which had been left tied up outside a shop in Newbottle Street, she was bitten on the face, leaving a gash to the side of her nose and a series of scratches and bruises.

Police officers helped take her and Vicky to Sunderland Royal Hospital, where Kacey had to be put to sleep while stitches were put in under her skin to help repair a damaged muscle before the cut was then stitched up.

Vicky, 30, who is also mum to Bethany, 10, and Hunter, 17 months, said she has raised her concerns about the safety of the dog with Northumbria Police, but no action is to be taken.

She said: “Kacey is in the process of being diagnosed with autism and she’s animal mad.

“I’d taken her into Houghton because she’s been so well behaved, so we went to B&M to get some sweets and bits and bobs.

Five-year-old Kacey Smith was left distressed by the incident.

“She saw the dog outside Heron Foods and before I could say come away, she had gone to the dog and it launched at her face.

“She fell to the ground and it went for another bite and it cut her ear and the left side of her face and the top of her nose.

“I grabbed her arm and pulled her away.

“The blood was pouring from her face.

Kacey Smith was attacked by a dog on Newbottle Street in Houghton.

“I got shaken and upset and we were surrounded by lots of people who came to help and ask if she was all right.

“They called for an ambulance and for the police and she was in a lot of shock and panic, and we took her to the pharmacy across the road for some medical assistance.

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“We were waiting for an ambulance, but the police said they would take us to hospital.”

She said the dog’s owner spoke to her while in the chemist shop and expressed his concern about what had happened and also passed on their thoughts through the police.

Kacey Smith was treated by Sunderland Royal Hospital and was given stitches to seal up the cut near her nose.

However, Vicky, of Houghton, said the incident and others like it have left her feeling that tougher rules should be in place around dogs while they are out in public.

She added: “The police officer phoned me back and said that the dog is 11-years-old and it’s going blind and has got cataracts, and that’s fair enough, I can understand that, but if the dog owner knew about its health condition, why leave it tied up outside the shop?

“The police dog handler said it is harmless, which I was quite offended by.

“It’s pretty much ripped my daughter’s face off.

“I’m not talking about putting the dog down.

“I can understand that the owner might also be feeling distressed about it and might not have done anything like this before, but I think something needs to be done about it.

Vicky Smith with her daughter Kacey at their home in Houghton.

“If owners are going to leave their dogs alone, they should be muzzled so they can’t bite people, there needs to be some law about it.

“I just feel like there isn’t any justice.”

A spokesperson for Northumbria Police said: “We can confirm we received a report of a child being bitten by a dog and as a result advice has been issued to those involved.”

Kacey Smith's injury after she was bitten by a dog.