Mum calls for harsher penalties for dog owners after 'barbaric' attack leaves daughter screaming

Laila was walking back from Horley station after finishing college when the incident happened on The incident took place on 10 January. Credit: BPM Media

A woman from Surrey has spoken of her 'horror' after her daughter was bitten by a dog just two days before a fatal attack in the county.

Melissa, who preferred to only give her first name, received a tearful call from her daughter, Laila, who has been too frightened to speak about the incident.

Laila was walking back from Horley station after finishing college when it happened on 10 January.

She approached a person with a German Shepherd on a lead and, despite trying to give the dog a wide berth, Laila was bitten on her thigh by the dog, from which she suffered nasty bruising and required hospital treatment.

"I got a phone call from her screaming saying she’s been attacked by a dog, she was hyperventilating," Melissa said.

"I jumped in the car and drove to her and she was obviously distressed. She could see the dog was a bit out of control and the dog just lunged and bit her.

"I find it barbaric what happened to her, not only physically but mentally.

"She missed four days of work and one day of college and she wouldn’t leave the house.

"I had to really help her and really going on to her about safety. It's insane, people are so irresponsible.

"Now she’s walking an extra ten minutes to the train station for college because she won’t walk past the house where it happened.

"If your dog’s showing aggressive behaviour, do something about it. Muzzle it in public or take some classes.

"I think parents need to have that discussion with their children about dogs; don’t touch other people's dogs, keep a wide berth from them. Responsibility needs to be taken on both sides."

Following the incident, which happened just days before a 28-year-old woman was killed in a dog attack in Caterham, Melissa was left angered by the police response to the incident after the owners of the dogs identified themselves.

In particular, she was left frustrated that officers did not examine her daughter's wounds and claimed they wanted to close the case as soon as she made her first call to police.

She also thought the dog’s owners should have received a harsher penalty, with police issuing the owners a community resolution order and dog control order.

Explaining their decision and responding to her comments, a spokesperson for Surrey Police defended the action taken in the aftermath of the incident.

They said: "Based on the circumstances, consultation with a dog officer, and a police visit to the owner and dog, issuing a community resolution and a dog control order is an appropriate and proportionate way to deal with this incident.

"This was agreed by the victim and her family at the time and we have since provided further reassurance to them around our investigation and the process we followed.

"The incident has also been passed onto the force’s dog unit for their awareness."