Boy attacked by Alsations settles case for €60,000

Sam Duffy was only five years of age when the dogs attacked him as he played at the playground at Hillview housing estate, Wicklow town.
Boy attacked by Alsations settles case for €60,000

High Court reporters

A boy who was attacked by two Alsatian type dogs while playing in a playground has settled a High Court action for €60,000.

Sam Duffy was only five years of age when the dogs attacked him as he played at the playground at Hillview housing estate in Wicklow town.

He was rushed to hospital where it was noted he had a large wound to the scalp with the bone exposed and wounds to the left side of his mouth and cheeks and above his eye.

Sam’s Counsel Maura McNally SC instructed by Doran O’Toole solicitor told the High Court the boy was left with a “multiplicity of scars” around his head and he had to have sutures inserted under general anaesthetic.

Counsel said liability was fully in dispute in the case.

Sam Duffy who is now aged 17 of Hillview, Wicklow town had through his father James Duffy sued Wicklow County Council, the local authority responsible for the Hillview estate over the incident on November 8th, 2009.

It was claimed the boy who was five years of age was suddenly and without provocation or warning savagely attacked by two adult dogs related to the German Shepherd breed.

The dogs were put down after the incident.

It was further claimed that in October 2010 another resident of the estate was convicted of an offence under the Control of Dogs Act.

It was alleged that a telephone complaint had been made to Wicklow County Council in June 2009 that the dogs were being kept at a property on the estate in alleged breach of a lease agreement with the council.

It was further claimed there was an alleged failure to take steps as the council was legally entitled to do to ensure a danger of two large and potentially dangerous dogs did not exist on a housing estate the council controlled.

It was further claimed there was an alleged failure to ensure the playground was secured against the entry of potentially dangerous, uncontrolled or unsupervised dogs.

All the claims were denied, and council contended it was not aware that animals were being kept at a house in the estate and if they were, it was not foreseeable the boy would be attacked by the dogs and there was nothing the council could reasonably have done to prevent the attack.

Approving the settlement Mr Justice Paul Coffey said the offer was fair and reasonable, and he wished Sam all the best for the future.

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