AZAMBUJEIRA PORTUGAL - A PIT BULL ATTACKED A TODDLER IN THE FACE WHEN SHE WAS ALLOWED TO PET IT FOR THE SECOND TIME AT A HOME OF A FRIEND OF HER MOTHER
A two-year-old girl was left seriously injured and in need of hospitalisation after being attacked by a PIT BULL TERRIER on Sunday morning in Azambujeira, Rio Maior, just north of Lisbon.
The attack is understood to have taken place around Sunday noon, and left the toddler with serious injuries. According to a source from local emergency services, who responded to the incident, the child was bitten by the dog on her face and sustained an injury “of some size.”
She was taken to Santarém Hospital and later transferred to the Dona Estefânia hospital in Lisbon, where at the start of this week the child’s clinical condition was said to be stable and progressing favourably.
Based on witness accounts, the source said the girl had already stroked the dog once and was reproaching it to pet it again “inside the backyard of a private property” when it turned on her.
A GNR police source said the dog bit the toddler “once, on the left side of her face, and then left the child alone straight away.”
“The dog was in the home of its owners, who were friends of the child’s mother. It all happened on private property”, the police source explained, adding the municipal vet was due to visit the property to “analyse the situation.”
Rio Maior Mayor Isaura Morais told Lusa News Agency the dog is properly vaccinated and legalised, given that it belongs to a breed listed as potentially dangerous, and will be held in quarantine for 45 days.
“During those 45 days the dog will be under medical observation and will not be put down” she clarified, stressing this is “normal procedure.”
Under Portuguese legislation, potentially-dangerous dogs are dogs of a particular build and nature that could cause injury or death to humans or animals.
There are seven listed breeds considered potentially-dangerous from the offset – the Brazilian Fila, Dogo Argentino, Pit bull terrier, Rottweiler, American Staffordshire terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier and the Japanese Tosa Inu.
Dangerous dogs are those that have attacked a person, killed or injured an animal while out of its owner’s possession, or have been declared so by the owner.
Owners of dogs of both categories must be over the age of 18 and have a special licence, renewed annually. Obtaining a licence requires that the animal has an anti-rabies vaccine, a microchip, insurance and the owner’s criminal record, among other things
In January 2013 there was an unprecedented display of national solidarity to save a pit bull-cross, believed to be responsible for the death of a toddler, from being put down. Close to 80,000 people signed a petition to stop the dog, named Zico, from being destroyed, backed by Portugal’s largest animal rights association ANIMAL.
In that case the dog had reportedly been sleeping in a dark kitchen when the young boy toddled in there and fell on it. The animal is believed to have turned, causing fatal brain injuries that led to the toddler’s death two days later.
Zico was eventually handed over to the animal welfare association ANIMAL in August 2013, after being kept in a special section of an Alentejo municipal kennel for seven months.
The move came after months of wrangling and petitioning, when a judge ruled in the association’s favour after the autopsy report into the toddler’s death concluded: “It was not proved that the dog was responsible for the child’s death.”