Mother calls for dogs to be destroyed after Hitchin girl, 9, attacked

THE mother of a nine-year-old girl who was viciously attacked by two Alsatians is calling for the dogs to be destroyed before someone else is hurt.

Emma Clifft, of Redhill Road in Hitchin, said her daughter, Ronnie Barton, had been walking to meet her brother when she was attacked by two Alsatians on Mattocke Road in the town.

“The dogs singled her out and pulled her to the floor,” she said.

“She was viciously attacked and had puncture marks to the backs and tops of her legs.”

A woman driving past stopped her car and managed to get the dogs off Ronnie, who was taken to the A&E department at Lister Hospital in Stevenage, where her wounds were treated.

Ms Clifft reported the incident to the police on the day it happened – May 23 – but, more than five weeks later, she is concerned the dogs have not been destroyed.

She said: “The owner’s garden, where these animals are kept, backs onto Oughten School’s playground.

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“I think it is disgusting that these dogs have not been destroyed.

“They are a potential danger to other children in the area.”

Ms Clifft, who said her daughter is still in shock about what happened and is now afraid of dogs, has vowed to start a petition to have the Alsatians put down.

“I think once dogs behave in this fashion they are dangerous and should be dealt with,” she said.

A spokesman for Herts Police said the owner of the dogs has been interviewed under caution.

“He admitted that his dogs probably were responsible for the incident and understood the impact it had on the victim,” he said.

“He agreed to put in place additional measures to secure his property and make sure the dogs do not escape again.

“We have since visited his property and are satisfied that the measures the owner has taken are suitable for keeping the dogs within the property.”

The Herts Police spokesman said this is the first time these particular dogs have been reported to them as either injuring a person or behaving in a way that makes a person fear for their safety.

“Only the courts have the powers to order the destruction of a dangerous dog, although this is usually only a last resort in very serious cases,” he said.

“We felt the most appropriate course of action was for the owner to be given a formal police caution.”