Dog mauls girl after escaping: court

A THREE-YEAR-OLD girl was mauled by a dog just four days after the same animal attacked two small dogs being walked by their owner, a court has heard.

The toddler was walking with her mum in Sebastopol while her younger brothers sat in a pram when they were set upon by Rufus, a 10-year-old American Staffordshire bull terrier type dog who has now been destroyed.

The mother saw Rufus coming and turned the pram away to protect the boys, only to turn back and see the dog standing on her daughter with his head up her dress.

Ballarat Magistrates Court yesterday heard the mother repeatedly kicked Rufus until he fled home while her daughter screamed in terror.

The toddler, covered in blood and with a loose flap of flesh on her back, was taken to Ballarat Base Hospital by ambulance.

Fearing infection, doctors chose not to stitch the wound but to sterile strip and cover it.

Council officers seized Rufus and he was subsequently euthanised.

The dog’s owner Alexander Stewart Douglas, 76, appeared in court yesterday where details of the harrowing July 18 attack was told.

The court heard Rufus had escaped four days before that incident, this time attacking two smaller dogs being walked by an elderly man. 

Rufus took one of the dogs in his mouth and shook her from side to side.

Again he had to be kicked repeatedly before running home.

Defence lawyer Daniel Beecher said the toddler attack was a very sad incident and that Rufus was a beloved family pet.

“It seems his dog which had been restrained by a hedge had started to get out,” Mr Beecher said.

“The hedge probably had suffered from the drought.”

He urged the court to consider a good behaviour bond but was ultimately rejected.

Magistrate Terry Wilson said Douglas should have learnt from the first attack.

“One thing pet owners need to understand is they will be held responsible for their animal’s actions,” Mr Wilson said.

“In this instance sadly a young lady who has done absolutely nothing wrong ... has received an incredibly nasty wound.”

Douglas was fined $2750 with conviction.