severe injuries | 

Mother of boy injured by dog in vicious attack says 'some breeds are status symbol'

Darryl Brady-Graham, who was 12 at the time, got 150 stitches in his face and was lucky to escape alive
Darryl Brady-Graham had 150 stitches in his face after being bitten by a bull terrier

Darryl Brady-Graham had 150 stitches in his face after being bitten by a bull terrier

Amy Molloy

The mother of a boy who was attacked by a mixed-breed Staffordshire bull terrier while playing football said it is "upsetting and frustrating" how dogs are still being let off leashes near their Dublin home.

Darryl Brady-Graham suffered severe facial injuries and had to receive counselling after the horrific incident in Clonsilla in December 2020.

The boy, who was 12 at the time, got 150 stitches in his face and was lucky to escape alive.

He has since made a good recovery, but the attack left him with four facial scars.

"He has good days and bad days," his mother Deborah Brady said.

"We're trying to work with him on his fear of dogs at the moment as it was getting to the point where he was crossing the road to avoid them, but he's doing a lot better now."

The attack happened when Darryl was trying to help the owner, who was a 14-year-old boy, get the dog back after letting it off the leash to run around.

He was playing football with his friends at the time when the dog ran into a neighbouring field.

They eventually managed to get him back on the lead, and Darryl asked the owner if he could pet the dog, but when he did it began growling.

He turned around and the dog jumped up, pulling him to the ground and started biting his face and neck.

The boy tried to protect himself and the dog also bit his arm.

"Thankfully the dog got distracted and then ran off so he managed to get away and run home," Ms Brady said.

His parents brought him to Connolly Hospital Blanchardstown and he was then transferred to Temple Street Children's Hospital for surgery.

"We're just grateful that he got out alive."

Since the incident, Ms Brady said there have been other experiences near their home where children have climbed up trees to avoid dogs that chased after them.

She said dogs like pitbulls and bulldogs have become "status symbols" in their area, with a lot of young people having them as pets.

"A lot of them are teenagers who don't know how to properly control them," she said.

She also warned parents to not allow their children to pet random dogs, or to get too close.

"Darryl used to love rubbing dogs, but ever since then he doesn't rub dogs he doesn't know, which is probably a good thing."

She contacted the local authority, Fingal County Council, to erect signs urging owners about the need to keep dogs on leads.

The signs also list the dogs that are on Ireland's restricted breed list.

This includes Rottweilers, German shepherds (Alsatians), English bull terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers, bull mastiffs, Dobermann pinschers, Rhodesian ridgebacks, Japanese akitas, Japanese tosas and any dogs which are a cross of those on the list.

"Whether they're restricted or not, dogs should be kept on leads in public places," she said.

The dog involved in the attack on her son was put to sleep that day, and the young boy's father called to Darryl's home to apologise.


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