Man denies guilt in bloody dog attack

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A 23-year-old Norwegian man was arrested after a dog that he owned jumped a low fence in the yard where it was being held and attacked a two-year-old boy who was playing in an adjacent children’s park. Two other dogs he owned joined in and the boy’s mother and uncle were also badly bitten, but the dog owner denies responsibility.

The dramatic attack has attracted widespread attention in Norway and raised questions about the types of dogs involved, and whether they should be allowed in the country. The most aggressive dog, which initiated the attack, was a French mastiff while the two others were a blend of Rottweiler and Doberman pinscher. One of them joined in the attack, with the mastiff reportedly trying to drag the little boy into a nearby forest.

‘A terrible sight’
His mother tried to get the dog off her son and was severely bitten in the process, while her brother also tried to save them both and was badly bitten as well. The dogs’ owner then turned up and managed to drag the two most aggressive dogs off the three victims, while the third dog ran back and forth from a short distance away.

“There was a a lot of screaming and blood,” one neighbour who witnessed the attack told the website for local newspaper Fædrelandsvennen. “It was a terrible site.”

The three victims, all on a family visit to Norway from Macedonia, were rushed to hospital in Kristiansand and treated for what police described as “deep, open sores” on their arms, shoulders and back. There were other children present, but the dogs seemed to target two-year-old Erion Bushi.

His mother Semra told Fædrelandsvennen after being released from hospital on Friday that she was  “very glad to see my son again and grateful that he survived,” while her brother-in-law Beram Kovaci translated. She worried that her son “was crying a lot and in pain,” and that her arm “will never be completely well again” because of the deep bite wounds and stitching she had to undergo.

‘Asking for trouble’
Kovaci lives in Mandal and said he hopes the dogs will be destroyed. He was upset that his family had such a brutal and frightening experience during what was supposed to be a pleasant summer holiday. “We can hardly believe this has happened,” he said.

The leader of a dog training school in Oslo, Geir Marring, said that breeding Rottweilers and Dobermans and keeping them with a French mastiff was “like asking for trouble.” While he doesn’t view the mastiff as a fighting dog, he said they are very strong and can be aggressive. When one dog attacks, others can likely follow.

The dogs’ owner, however, claims he can’t be held responsible for the attack. He was in police custody and undergoing questioning, charged with failing to have control over his animals. He faces a six-month prison term, fines and a ban on owning dogs in the future.

The dogs were placed at a local kennel, separated from other dogs, until their fate is determined. Norwegian law will allow for their destruction.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

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