Mother of dog-bite victim welcomes new bill

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Barbara, Jamie, Andrew, Matthew and Craig Osborne
Barbara, Jamie, Andrew, Matthew and Craig Osborne

By Alexander Lawrie

THE mum of a toddler who had his face ripped open by a neighbour’s pet yesterday welcomed a new Bill lodged at the Scottish Parliament demanding improvements to the Dangerous Dogs Act.

Barbara Osborne heard her son’s screams as he was savagely attacked by a dog outside their home in Dalkeith last month.

Five year old Andrew is still recovering and has been left with horrific scars on his face.

And yesterday mum Barbara welcomed the Control of Dogs (Scotland) Bill being presented to the Scottish Parliament.

“Badly treated or trained”

It focuses on a need to acknowledge that owners need to take more responsibility for their dogs, which is something that Barbara agrees with.

She said: “It’s good that this means owners have to take more responsibility.

“The nicest dog in the world can be treated badly or trained to become aggressive. At the end of the day they are just animals and any animal can turn.

“It is up to the owner to ensure that their dog is well-behaved and controlled.”

Micro-chipping

The Bill has so far received cross-party support in parliament and is therefore likely to be incorporated into the law.

It includes measures to control dogs that are dangerously out of control, including compulsory micro-chipping so that the authorities can keep track of their movements.

The Bill also makes a dog attack illegal no matter where it occurs – currently the legislation only covers public places.

Barbara’s son, Andrew, was playing just outside his home in Easthouses, Dalkeith, Midlothian, last month when the dog lunged at him – tearing a gaping wound in his right cheek and lip.

“Murder scene”

Barbara, alerted by the youngster’s horrific screaming, rushed outside to find her young son covered in blood.

The distraught mum said her house resembled “a murder scene” as she tried to stem the flow of blood from her young son’s face, and trying to call for an ambulance at the same time.

The five-year-old was quickly ferried to Edinburgh’s Sick Kids Hospital where, over five harrowing days, he underwent three delicate, plastic surgery operations.

Surgeons were forced to insert 34 stitches in the little lad’s face as they expertly repaired the damage.

Andrew Osbourne in hospital
Andrew Osbourne in hospital

The horrendous attack on May 19 happened as Andrew and his two brothers, five-year-old twin Matthew and Jamie, eight, played just yards from their front door.

The normally good-natured dog, which had grown up around its owner’s grandchildren, lunged at the blonde-haired five year-old for no apparent reason, tearing his cheek wide open.

Worried mum Barbara was alerted to the incident by Andrew’s desperate screams.

She said: “I heard Andrew screaming. There’s a cry, and there’s a scream – I just knew something was wrong.

“I rushed out and at first I just thought he had fallen because the blood was coming from his nose – but it was then I saw this bit of his face just flap off.

“I was hysterical. There was blood trailing in behind him and when he came in the house there was blood on the floor, the door and all over me.”

Andrew was kept in hospital for four days where surgeons performed two face-saving operations, with a third operation on the Primary One pupil carried out the following week.

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