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Dublin: 10°C Wednesday 23 June 2021

Schoolgirl awarded €40k after 'savage' attack by neighbour's dog

The court was told the dog, named Sophie, had bitten the six-year-old in the face, lacerating her upper lip.

Image: Shutterstock/hjochen

A SIX-YEAR-old schoolgirl, who will be scarred for life after being “savagely attacked by a neighbour’s dog,” was today awarded €40,000 damages in the Circuit Civil Court.

Barrister Barney Quirke said that in October 2013, Emily Counihan was close to her home at Mountain View, Crinken Glen, Shankill, County Dublin, when a dog owned by neighbour Margaret Quinlan attacked her.

He told Circuit Court President, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke, the dog, a mongrel named Sophie, had bitten Emily in the face, lacerating her upper lip area.

She had been taken to hospital for stitches.

Two-centimetre scar

The court heard the wound had left a two-centimetre scar on Emily’s face and she was very conscious of it.

Mr Quirke said the colour of the scar changed in different weather conditions.

Judge Groarke was told the scar was visible and permanent, and may need to be treated with laser when Emily is 16-years-old. The court heard Emily suffered some psychological trauma following the attack and was now wary of dogs.

Through her mother Sinead Counihan, Emily sued her neighbour, Ms Quinlan, of Mountain View, Crinken Glen, Shankill, Co Dublin, for negligence.

Emily’s legal team claimed Ms Quinlan had failed to ensure her dog was kept in a secured and fenced area, and had allowed her to stray from her property without adequate supervision.

The dog had a known violent propensity and therefore should have been restrained or muzzled.

€40,000 settlement 

Mr Quirke, who appeared with Kenny Sullivan solicitors, said Ms Quinlan’s insurer, RSA Insurance, had made a €40,000 settlement offer and he recommended its acceptance.

Judge Groarke, approving the offer, said that although it was not the case in the claim before the court, very often people walking their dogs did not muzzle them despite the fact they are supposed to be muzzled. He said it was very often the case that owners did not have any insurance.

“Some dog owners have a total disregard for their responsibility in public places,” Judge Groarke said.

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