Northern Ireland

Child 'needed 80 stitches' after Belfast dog attack

Pitbull, file pic
Image caption Witnesses said the child was attacked by a "by a pitbull-type dog", like the one pictured here

An eight-year-old girl who was attacked by a dog in Belfast "will never be the same again", her mother has said.

Annie McFadden needed 80 stitches to her head and body after being attacked by a pitbull-type dog in the north of the city, the Irish News reported.

Council dog wardens are investigating the attack, which police said was reported at about 18:30 BST on Sunday.

The family was reportedly told that a wound on the girl's chest was just 2cm (0.8in) from piercing her heart.

Trisha McFadden, the girl's mother, told BBC News NI that her daughter has been "having nightmares and not eating".

"She is normally always laughing but I think it is understandable.

"Today [Wednesday] she is beginning to talk more," she said.

'Breaks my heart'

Ms McFadden said the dog had been off its lead when it attacked her daughter.

She called on its owners to hand it over to the authorities.

"They know it is a dangerous dog," she said.

"[Annie] was just playing football [when she was bitten] - something she loves to do - and now she will never be the same again.

"I'm trying to be here for my daughter but I don't want this to happen to anyone else.

"The thought of the dog still being out there just breaks my heart."

Dog warden investigation

Two men tried to grab the animal but it resumed the attack after Annie tried to run, she added.

Ms McFadden also praised the police and medical staff who had helped her daughter.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland said: "It was reported at around 18:30 BST that a young girl had been attacked by a dog.

"The girl was taken to hospital for treatment of her injuries.

"The matter has now been passed through to the local dog warden, who will be carrying out an investigation."

Belfast City Council said its dog wardens were investigating the matter and it could not comment further while the investigation was ongoing.

After the attack, Annie was taken to the Mater Hospital in Belfast before being transferred to the Ulster Hospital in Dundonald, County Down.