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Boy, 9, traumatised by dog attack

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Pitbull attacks: nine-year-old Northlands Primary School student, Aston Jones-Williams was attacked by two pitbulls(Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

A schoolboy savaged by two pitbull-type dogs is traumatised and suffers nightmares in the wake of the horror attack, his mother said yesterday.

Aston Jones-Williams was bitten all over his body by the dogs, said by the Government to be a restricted breed.

Ajale Williams said her son was bitten on his wrist, legs, head and face, and screamed in pain as he was being treated for his wounds in hospital.

She said: “It has pretty much changed his whole routine. He is shaken.”

Ms Williams, from Pembroke, explained that her normal routine was to drop Aston, 9, off at the house of a woman on nearby Mission Lane so she could take him to Northlands Primary School.

But on the day of the attack last Thursday, Ms Williams was late for work and dropped Aston off at the junction of St Monica’s Road and Glebe Road, a short walk to the woman’s home.

Aston was mauled by the dogs as he walked down the hill.

Ms Williams said: “I feel bad that I didn’t drop him off that morning.”

She added that Aston did not want to go back into the area.

She said: “He doesn’t even want to go to her house even though her dog has never attacked him.”

Ms Williams added: “He won’t walk on the street and he has bad dreams.”

“It’s hard because he said, ‘Mommy, I wish you were there’.”

She said she had been forced to make other arrangements to get him to and from school.

Ms Williams said Aston had been given counselling and that she planned to get him more help in a bid to get over the trauma.

And she called for dog owners to be more responsible and to follow regulations designed for restricted breeds.

The dogs that attacked Aston were put down after the incident.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources said dog owners should keep their animals secure to prevent accidents, bites and unintended breeding. A spokeswoman said: “The department continues to investigate this matter and expresses their sympathy to the young victim.”

Walter Roban, the home affairs minister, added dog owners should always consider the safety of other people.

He told owners: “ Your neighbours may not be comfortable with your dog roaming uncontrolled, even though you believe your dog to be friendly.

“Your neighbours have a right to enter and exit their homes without intimidation, fear or angst, so please keep your dog secure.”

The minister highlighted amendments to the Dogs Act made last October. Mr Roban said: “The legislation has given owners of illegal dogs the opportunity to demonstrate responsible ownership.

“Owners can either seize or squander the opportunity, and whether they get to keep their dog long term rests entirely in their hands.”

The amended legislation gave the department the power to refuse to grant or renew dog licences, or to cancel an existing licence, based on past offences, complaints or the suitability of the premises where a dog was kept.

Animal groups also called for dog owners to be more responsible about their dogs.

An administrator of the Facebook group Dogs of Bermuda said: “Pitbulls, like any dog, can bite.

“They just have a bad reputation because of the often ignorant people that have them, but don’t love or look after them.”

He added: “Dog ownership is a privilege not a right and they must be cared for.”

Ian MacFarlaine, of the SPCA, said: “We continue to urge a small minority of dog owners to become more responsible because carelessness has consequences.”

Grace Markham, of Punish the Breed, Not the Deed, said it was important that dogs were well trained.

She added: “I feel incredibly saddened for the child injured in this situation as it’s entirely preventable if the dogs had been contained correctly.”

Ms Markham said people who own restricted breeds should follow the rules.

She warned: “If you’re unable to control the strength of your dog, if he or she pulls away, then you should not be walking your animal where it may have triggers such as other dogs.”

Still traumatised: Northlands Primary School student, Aston Jones-Williams, 9, shows a puncture wound after he was attacked by 2 pitbulls on his way to school (Photograph supplied)
Wild attack: Northlands Primary School student Aston Jones-Williams, 9, was attacked by two pitbulls on his way to school. This photograph shows bite wound scabs on his skull. The dogs were euthanised (Photograph supplied)