Judge Awards Compensation for a Dog Bite Injury

A Circuit Civil Court judge has awarded a seventeen-year-old boy €7,500 compensation for a dog bite injury after finding an animal rescue centre negligent.

Rhys Loy was just twelve years of age when, in November 2009, he was cycling home from school in Raheny, Dublin. As he mounted the pavement, Rhys was bitten by a five-year-old Collie – Charlie – who was being walked on a rope by its temporary owner Anecy Sholling.

Rhys suffered a superficial laceration to his left calf and was taken to the Children´s University Hospital in Temple Street, where his wound was cleaned and sutured. Rhys – who lives in Clongriffin in Dublin – had to return to the hospital on several occasions to have his dressings changed.

Through his mother, Sinead Byrne, Rhys claimed compensation for a dog bite injury against the owners of the dog – Deidre and Gina Hetherington of the PAWS animal rescue centre in Mullinahone, County Tipperary. Ms Byrne also organised a warrant to have the dog put down.

The Hetheringtons denied liability for Rhys´ injuries and claimed that the Collie had been adopted by Ms Sholling several months before the attack. They also denied any knowledge of the dog´s whereabouts after he escaped capture by the Gardai who were trying to execute the warrant.

The claim for compensation for a dog bite injury went to the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin, where it was heard by Mr Justice Raymond Groarke. At the hearing the judge heard testimony that the Collie was being fostered by Ms Sholling at the time of the attack, and that the dog had been returned to the animal rescue centre afterwards.

As the dog was in the ownership of the animal rescue centre at the time of the attack, the judge found Deidre and Gina Hetherington negligent and ordered them to pay Rhys €7,500 compensation for a dog bite injury – adding that he did not believe it was a coincidence the Collie had escaped his punishment.