Warning to dog owner, but mum of teenage victim calls for tougher action

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POLICE have issued a warning to the owner of a dog which allegedly attacked and bit a teenaged girl at a popular picnic spot near Galashiels.

But that sanction does not satisfy the mother of 13-year-old Kenzi Mercer who sustained injuries to her hip in the incident which took place on the banks of the Tweed between Langlee and Tweedbank on Sunday evening.

“My daughter was bitten and traumatised which is down to the inability or unwillingness of the owner to control her pet,” said Michelle Mercer of Langlee.

She went on:“Kenzi had been out enjoying the sunshine with friends when she called me on her mobile at around 7.45pm.

“She was screaming and clearly terrified and I could hear the panicked cries of her pals in the background.

“When I got there, Kenzi was very distressed and her friends told me the dog – a wire-haired mongrel about the size of a greyhound – had not been on a lead and that its owner, a woman in her early thirties, was inebriated when the dog attacked.

“It was one of Kenzi’s friends, who pulled her clear of the animal, who called the police, despite being threatened by the owner that if she did so, she would let the dog loose again.

“I gave the woman a piece of my mind and, on the way home, we met the police and told them what had happened. Later, two officers came to the house and said they would not be bringing charges. They claimed the injury she sustained was ‘just a scratch’ and suggested the youngsters may have been winding up the dog: something Kenzi vehemently denies.”

Mrs Mercer said that the following day, the family doctor prescribed a course of antibiotics.

“She’d had tetanus injections when she was young, but the GP stated categorically her injuries were the result of a bite, not a scratch, and would be prepared to testify to that diagnosis.”

A police spokesman said that, after an investigation of the evidence, the owner had been warned about her future conduct. The spokesman added: “This amounts to a yellow card and she knows the consequences will be more serious if such an incident happens again.

“We would appeal to all dog owners, especially in summer, to be watchful of their pets if they are off the lead when youngsters are around and also we would ask parents to discourage their children from teasing the animals.”

Mrs Mercer countered: “If this had been a pitbull, it would have been taken away and destroyed. I would not like to see that happen, but the owner should at least have been charged with a breach of the peace because her pet caused absolute mayhem and injured a little girl.”

The police spokesman told us: “If Mrs Mercer believes a crime has been committed, she should contact the police in Galashiels.”