Thursday, December 22, 2016

New Zealand: Boy, 5, attacked by dad's pit bull thought he was dying; authorities say no charges are to be filed even though dog wasn't registered

NEW ZEALAND -- "Mum, I'm dying," screamed a 5-year-old boy after he was attacked by a pit bull.

Connor Johnson was savaged by the dog on December 3, while at his father's house in Palmerston North.

His mother, Chantelle Seymour-East, who is separated from Connor's dad, said her son received 70 stitches from the attack and suffered extensive damage to his ear.

He was rushed to hospital and then transferred to Wellington for surgery.

Connor has ADHD and at the time of the attack Seymour-East said he was outside trying to feed one of the dogs.

Now his wounds were closed, but the emotional scars remain.

"He has night terrors. He blames himself, he goes to counselling now and we are arranging [physical therapy]. He barely ever eats. He cries himself to sleep," Connor's mum said.

"He has gone from size six clothing to size three and he can't watch movies that have dogs in them any more. He only needed one more pull from the dog and he wouldn't have any ear."

Seymour-East said when Connor was awake he did not like looking at himself, because he did not like to see the stitches.

The upset mum said the hardest thing about the situation was "seeing my baby broken".

Her husband, Aaron Seymour-East, said he was also struggling with "the heartache I can see in Connor's eyes and the fact he knows he's injured".

He said they would like to see dog owners held responsible if their dogs attacked others, as well as landlords.

The offending dog has since been destroyed and the Palmerston North City Council opted not to prosecute anyone for the attack.

Connor's mum is not happy with that decision.

"I want justice for Connor," Chantelle Seymour-East said.

She said she believed the decision by the Palmerston North City Council to not prosecute showed dog owners that it was OK for a dog to attack a member of their own family.

"Just don't let it hurt a stranger's kid, just let it hurt your own and you'll get away with it ... as long as you get them killed after."

City council head of environmental protection services Graeme Gillespie said that, although only one of the dogs was involved in the attack, both dogs on the property had been destroyed.

"We're not intending to prosecute as the dogs were voluntarily put up for destruction."

A set of nationally consistent criteria was used by the council to make its assessment.

"The owner cooperated and both dogs were volunteered for destruction and, as such, there is no ongoing threat."

The council was not aware that the dog that attacked Connor was not registered.

Connor's father did not respond to requests for comment.

( - Dec 22, 2016)

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