Woman scarred for life in at­tack by Akita dog

Doc­tors could not count num­ber of stitches on vic­tim’s rav­aged face

The Herald - - NEWS - RORY CAS­SIDY

A WOMAN has been left scarred for life af­ter a friend’s pow­er­ful dog rav­aged her face as she went to kiss it good­bye af­ter a funeral.

Sylvia Bail­lie was mauled by the Ja­panese Akita in Pais­ley, Ren­frew­shire, last July.

Her daugh­ter had to grab the an­i­mal and drag it away af­ter its jaw clamped shut on her face.

Mrs Bail­lie, 60, was left so dis­fig­ured doc­tors were un­sure how many stitches they had used to seal her wounds.

She was set upon by the an­i­mal as she said farewell to a gath­er­ing of friends at a house fol­low­ing the funeral cer­e­mony.

It came weeks af­ter a 72-year-old woman had also been sav­aged by the dog, leav­ing her wrist blood­ied and cut to the bone. The pet, which has been in ken­nels since the at­tack on Mrs Bail­lie, is due to put down.

Owner Leeanne McHugh, 35, and her boyfriend Pa­trick Ma­her, 46, ad­mit­ted of­fences un­der the Dan­ger­ous Dogs Act at Pais­ley Sher­iff Court yes­ter­day.

Charges that the dog also at­tacked a baby and an­other woman and scarred an­other dog were dropped.

McHugh ad­mit­ted she was the owner of the dog that at­tacked Mrs Bail­lie.

Ma­her pled guilty to be­ing in charge of a dog that was dan­ger­ously out of con­trol when it at­tacked his aunt, Jane Dar­roch, and left her with “se­vere in­jury and per­ma­nent dis­fig­ure­ment” to her arm.

Procu­ra­tor Fis­cal De­pute Alan Par­fery told the court Mrs Bail­lie was at­tacked in the cou­ple’s home on July 13 last year fol­low­ing a funeral.

He added Mrs Bail­lie went to leave the prop­erty and waved good­bye to the Akita. As she went to give it a kiss, it bit her on the face.

He added: “The dog’s jaw locked, for what’s de­scribed as a few sec­onds, be­fore her daugh­ter grabbed the dog and pulled the dog away.”

He said that nei­ther McHugh or Ma­her did any­thing to pre­vent the at­tack de­spite also be­ing in the room.

The court heard Ma­her then took the dog out of the liv­ing room and later told po­lice away.

Mr Par­fery said McHugh tried to treat Mrs Bail­lie’s in­juries and the po­lice and am­bu­lance found her with a wound to the left of her face.

He added: “She had been at­tempt­ing to stem some of the blood with toi­let pa­per but am­bu­lance work­ers had to ap­ply a large pres­sure pad.

“The in­jury was very se­vere and she is per­ma­nently dis­fig­ured.

“Doc­tors are un­able to say how many stitches were ap­plied as they were both external, to the face, and it had run in­side her mouth. There were so many stitches in­serted, the doc­tors could not say.”

The court heard the dog had also at­tacked Ma­her’s aunt, Ms Dar­roch, 72, on June 30 last year, leav­ing her in “un­bear­able” pain and re­quir­ing 12 stitches.

Sher­iff David Pen­der de­ferred sen­tence for back­ground re­ports and bail was con­tin­ued.

Ja­panese Ak­i­tas are a pow­er­ful breed of dog that hail from the moun­tains in the north of the coun­try. They are gen­er­ally af­fec­tion­ate with fam­ily mem­bers, but aloof with strangers.

‘‘ The dog’s jaw locked, for what is de­scribed as a few sec­onds, be­fore her daugh­ter grabbed the dog and pulled the dog away

SCARRED: Sylvia Bal­lie, with her brother Ste­vie Purs­ley, was at­tacked by the pow­er­ful dog as she left a gath­er­ing of friends af­ter a funeral.

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