Edinburgh teenager hospitalised after American bulldog attack


By Cara Sulieman

A TEENAGER was recovering in hospital last night after he was savaged by an American bulldog.

Nicky Henderson recovers
Nicky Henderson, 13, was attacked by the animal while he was playing in a friend’s garden and told his mum he feared it was going to eat him alive as it mauled at him out of the blue.

It ripped at his arm, severing an artery, and exposing his bones in a horrifying drama lasting around three minutes.

The dog, named Kilo, only stopped when he was hit on the head by a shovel and had his jaws prised open by neighbours using broomsticks.

The bulldog – which had no prior history of violence – has since been put down after the attack.

The teenager was rushed to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary as the dog had severed an artery and he suffered extreme blood loss.

He has suffered severe nerve and muscle damage and lost the feeling in his arm where he has several deep puncture wounds and will be scarred for life.

He is expected to stay in hospital for another two weeks after the attack on Gilmerton Dykes Drive in the Gilmerton area of Edinburgh.

His mum, Suzanne Henderson, said that she could “hardly describe how horrible” her son’s injuries had been.

She said: “The whole of the back of his arm was ripped apart.

“It was such a horrible sight. It looked like a gooey, bloody pizza.”

She said: “He’s said that the dog’s eyes were bloodshot and he thought it was going to eat him.

“The first night in hospital he said ‘mum every time I close my eyes I can see the dog again’.

“But now he knows it had been put down he is alright.”

She added: “Nicky has been drifting in and out of consciousness. He is being given a lot of drugs to deal with the pain.

“They removed a vein from his leg to repair the artery, and we’ll see how it is in a couple of days.

“We don’t think he’ll lose use of the arm but he is very weak and very damaged.”

She said: “I went in and saw his arm. It didn’t look that bad at first.

“But Nicky was crying and he’s not really a crier and my heart just broke.

“I thought if Nicky is crying it must be bad.

“When I saw the back if his arm that’s when I saw the worst of it. It was just horrible.

“I don’t even know how a dog could do that to someone’s arm.”

Nicky will have to be transferred to St John’s Hospital in Livingston for plastic surgery on his arm and shoulder.

Suzanne said: “He’s been alright in himself.

“His friends have been up every visiting time and he’s been laughing and joking with them.

“But he has been worried about a few things.

“Not the scars though.

“The nurses keep telling him the girls will like the scars so he’s quite pleased with that.”

The football fan is worried about his Fernando Torres Liverpool shirt which he was wearing at the time.

Suzanne said: “It was almost like he was apologising. He said ‘mum, they cut my shirt off’ and I told him not to worry, we’ll get him next season’s shirt to replace it.”

Suzanne said that she wasn’t angry at the dog’s owners but thinks they should have been more careful with it.

She said: “Nicky has been around there before and said the dog was always barky but never bit anyone.

“I just think people should be more careful with their animals. They can have any pet they want as long as they make sure it’s not going to hurt anyone.

“But Nicky keeps swinging between compassion for the dog and being pleased it’s been put down.”

The dog’s owners Julie and Alan Korfanty said they were “devastated” that their “gentle and lovable” pet could have attacked a child.

Mrs Korfanty has been sitting on step next to child when it happened.

The 47-year-old said: “I am still in shock and I hope to God the bairn is all right.

“I just don’t understand it. Kilo loved children.

“Nicky had come round to play with my boy, but he was out.

“I saw Kilo go rigid and start growling. I told Nicky to stand up slowly but then he grabbed him.

“The wee lad was screaming but I wasn’t strong enough to pull the dog off.”

Neighbour Donna Squires managed to get the dog off using broomsticks.

She said: “It was quite hideous to watch and the lad was screaming.

“It took minutes to get the dog’s mouth open with two broomsticks, but eventually I managed it with another neighbour.”

Suzanne added that she was grateful to the neighbours who helped get Kilo off her son last Thursday.

She said: “I’m just so glad they were there.

“Nicky said there were other people just standing watching but those two ladies went and helped.

“They stemmed the blood until the ambulance arrived and held his arm up to stop the flow.

“Just to think someone was there to hold my bairn’s hand and to say it was all going to be okay – I’m so thankful.

“Nicky has said as well when he gets out if hospital he wants to go and take them flowers and thank them personally.”

A Lothian and Borders Police spokesman said: “The dog has since been destroyed and enquiries are ongoing to determine the circumstances surrounding this incident.”