At the High Court €121,917 personal injury compensation has been awarded to a women who was attacked and bitten by a large pit bull terrier at her friend’s house.
The attack, which took place on February 14, 2016 resulted in Colene Killian taking a legal action against her then friends Martin and Amy Kilduff, in relation to the “terrifying experience” that occurred at their home at Clonlyon, Belmont, Co Offaly.
Ms Killian claimed that her friends were negligent and in breach of the Control of Dogs Act over failures to ensure the dog was muzzled and under control – which led to her being bitten. She told the court that she was lawfully on the premises owned and controlled by the defendants as a visitor when she was attacked and bitten by a dog present on the premises.
The accident occurred when Ms Killian was waiting to be picked up by her father. While her boyfriend Ollie was in the sitting room speaking in a raised voice during an argument with a third party on his phone, she went into a bedroom to chat with Amy Kilduff. At this point the dog fled the sitting, entered the bedroom, and jumped onto the bed where his bit Ms Killian’s back.
Ms Killian told the Judge that was entered a hysterical state. The dog was restrained. However, once Ms Killian placed her hand on the bedroom door handle, the dog attacked her and latched onto her arm for about a minute. When the dog was pulled away it could be seen that he had a chunk of her flesh in this dog’s mouth. Ms Killian then noticed there there was a “really big hole” in her arm.
She was taken to Tullamore hospital for medical treatment. Here it was discovered that the wound was too deep to be closed. Medical staff cleaned the wound and gave Ms Killian a dose of antibiotics. On February 17, 2016, she was transferred to St James’s Hospital and, six days later, had an operation to close her wound. She was informed by a plastic surgeon that she would need additional surgeries at a later date.
Due to the trauma and physical injuries that she suffered, Ms Killian dropped out of an agricultural course she was attending. She is now employed as a residential care worker for teenagers with severe behavioural problems.
She was awarded the highest possible compensation award of €65,000. The Judge said that she had suffered with trauma, hospitalisation and the lack of success in addressing the physical appearance of her left arm, among other reasons, merited that sum. The Judge comment that the highest possible amount of compensation was awarded due to future reconstructive surgeries, lifelong scars and Ms Killian;s phobic anxiety about some dogs, he said. He awarded an additional €45,000 to reflect that, plus special damages, which made a total award dog attack compensation award of €121,917.