Appeal for dogs to be muzzled after Alfie loses eye

Appeal for dogs to be muzzled after Alfie loses eye

4 September 2019

THE owner of a Shih Tzu dog which sustained horrific injuries after being attacked by another dog has appealed for pet owners to ensure their dogs wear a muzzle while out walking them.

Rosemary Blaney’s beloved Alfie lost an eye after being attacked and bitten by a Labrador-cross dog on the Struell Road in Downpatrick last month.

Seven year-old Alfie – who also required six stitches to repair a gaping wound in his face — was left traumatised following the attack with his owners having to persuade him to leave home to go for a walk after he had been treated.

Mrs Blaney — who had to pay a substantial vets bill — was out walking Alfie with her husband when she met another man walking towards her with the Labrador cross.

“We started to have a conversation at which point his dog pulled away from the man and grabbed Alfie,” she recalled.

“He let out a yelp and I could see blood coming from the side of his face. I initially thought it was coming from his cheek but then realised he had been badly bitten on the eye.”

Mrs Blaney said the owner of the dog asked if Alfie was alright, but she was unsure as she could not see the full extent of the injury.

“The man apologised for what happened. When my husband and I got home we realised just how badly injured Alfie was and took him to the vet.,” she explained.

“When we arrived and the vet examined Alfie, he told us the news that he would not be able to save his eye as it had been punctured.”

Mrs Blaney described what happened as “very traumatic” explaining that before the operation to remove Alfie’s eye, the vet had to shave part of his hair.

“A short while after getting him home Alfie settled down, but he was reluctant to leave the front door to go for a walk.

“He is slowly getting back to his old self after such a traumatic experience for him and my husband and I, but he was reluctant to leave the house to go for a walk. The attack was still clearly impacting on him,” said his owner.

Mrs Blaney believes that in order to prevent something similar happening in the future, dog owners should be required to ensure that their pets wear a muzzle so they cannot harm other animals.

“I reported the incident to Newry, Mourne and Down Council’s dog warden and hope the local authority will explore the potential for introducing new legislation that would require pet owners to ensure their dogs cannot attack other animals while they are out walking them,” she said.

Mrs Blaney added: “I also believe that what happened to Alfie should be thoroughly investigated by the local authority’s dog warden to see what lessons can be learned and what measures can be put in place in a bid to prevent something similar from happening in the future.”

Mrs Blaney said dog wardens must treat all reports of animal attacks with the “seriousness they deserve” in a bid to stop other animals being seriously injured.

She added: “It is important that wardens not only investigate dog attacks but engage in follow-up work to ensure that dog owners are aware of how just how easy what happened to us could happen to them. 

“We would not want other dog owners to experience what we went through.”