A retired police officer who was injured in a savage dog attack has condemned the decision to hand the animal over to a rescue centre.
Paul Yarrington, 66, was mauled by a German shepherd, called Lupo, shortly after arriving at Perthshire Caravan Park Scone Palace on August 7.
The dog’s owner, Helen Bott, was fined £500 at Perth Sheriff Court on Tuesday but Sheriff Valerie Johnston declined to put the 10-year-old pet to sleep after hearing it had been handed over to German Shepherd Rescue Scotland.
Outraged Mr Yarrington said, “I would have preferred that it was put down. Had it been a child there there’s no doubt in my mind that it wouldn’t have survived the attack; it was that quick and that savage.
“It shocked me. I am an ex-police officer, I’ve worked alongside dogs of that nature, and I just felt that I’d done nothing to provoke it. If I’d had any choice in it the dog would have been put down on the day because I would not risk it happening again. Whether it’s with a rescue or not, somebody else is going to have that dog and the next time it does it what’s going to happen then?
“I’m not the smallest of people but the dog took me to the floor easily. If I hadn’t grabbed hold of its jaws when I did, or my wife hadn’t managed to get hold of it, I’m sure it would have had my face. I am shocked at the decision made by the sheriff – if she’d been in the same position as me I know what decision she would have made.
“If I’d made that decision like that after what the dog had done I’d hate to be the one to hear that the dog had attacked somebody else, a child, and done something a darned sight more serious.”
Mr Yarrington, who lives in Stourport-on-Severn, Worcestershire, had just arrived at the site for a holiday with wife Joyce when the dog, which was on a next-door pitch, attacked him.
It bit his arm and back before lunging for his face, leaving him physically and mentally scarred.
He added, “I’m very nervous with big dogs now – I never used to be. One of my neighbours has a big Alsatian that’s an ex-police dog. I’ve never had any problems with it before but if I see it in the road now I’m in the house because I just feel I don’t want to be subjected to anything like that or for the dog to sense I’m like that with it. We’d gone up for a month, it was the first day of our holiday and the incident just took the whole edge off it.”
Mr Yarrington has now instructed law firm Slater and Gordon as he pursues civil action against the owner of the dog. Laura Middlemass from the firm said, “This shocking incident resulted in Mr Yarrington suffering nasty injuries as a result of being attacked by this dog without any provocation or warning.
“The impact of dog bites can be devastating for victims, as attacks can leave both physical and psychological injuries, causing a huge amount of upset and distress for victims and making it difficult for them to trust other dogs in everyday situations.
“This dog attack is a serious matter and indicates the need for dog owners to ensure their pets are kept under control in public places. As a dog owner, if you let your dog attack and injure someone you can be sent to prison and/or fined.”