Postwoman needs plastic surgery after 'brutal' German Shepherd attack 

Humza Yousaf urged to do more to stop violent dogs after a Scottish woman suffered serious injuries during a dog attack.

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A postwoman required plastic surgery after suffering severe injuries during a “brutal” attack by a German Shepherd.

Kirsteen Hobson, from Oban, sustained serious injuries to her face, leg and arm as a result of the incident in December.

The attack was brought up by Anas Sarwar during First Minister’s Questions on Thursday.

Scottish Labour said that none of the measures to be set out by the Scottish Government to tackle badly behaved dogs would have helped Ms Hobson.

A ministerial statement just before 3pm will set out the Scottish Government’s planned ban on unlicensed XL bullies amid reports of attacks around the UK.

Sarwar said the Scottish Government was warned in 2019 that legislation introduced in 2010 was “not fit for purpose”.

The Public Audit and Post-legislative Scrutiny Committee’s conclusions of the Control of Dogs Act made the claim and added the law had “limited effect” in preventing or reducing the number of dog attacks in Scotland.

In response, ministers introduced a dog control notice scheme which allowed local authorities to demand owners of dangerous dogs take actions such as muzzling or receive punishments including fines up to £1,000 or bans on owning dogs.

Kirsteen Hobson suffered serious injuries following an attack by a German Sheppard.

Sarwar said dog attacks in Scotland had increased in recent years with more than 7,600 incidents recorded in 2022 alone.

“The Government promised five years ago to take action against irresponsible owners and breeders, not just an individual breed,” he said.

“Humza Yousaf was justice secretary when this Government promised to review the Control of Dogs Act and still nothing has happened.

“People like Kirsteen shouldn’t have to be fearful when they go to work and parents shouldn’t have to fear for their kids when they take them to the park.”

Yousaf pointed to the Covid pandemic as one of the reasons for the review being late.

The Scottish Labour leader accused the Scottish Government of responding to news headlines rather than the evidence around dog attacks.

During FMQs, the First Minister pointed to dog attacks in the news as one of the reasons behind the looming ban on XL bullies.

That echoed a similar sentiment to his spokesman last week who said the Government had been reading stories about XL bully attacks.

His comment came just a day after STV News revealed the “horror” attack on a 77-year-old woman in Clackmannanshire.

Isobel Boyd’s arm was shredded and her knee fractured when she was attacked in Tullibody, near Alloa in Clackmannanshire, at around 9am on December 20.

Sarwar called for the Scottish Government to commit to stronger powers for councils and police and to make clear that responsibility for the attacks lies with owners.

“How many more lives must be irreversibly damaged by dangerous dog attacks before the SNP Government fixes the Control of Dogs Act?” he said.

Craig Anderson, Scottish secretary of the Communication Workers Union, said: “Sadly this attack is a reminder of why the CWU has been campaigning for years for proper enforcement around dangerous dogs and not the tokenistic banning of individual breeds.”

“Shamefully, the Scottish Government has dragged its heels for years over meaningful action to improve dog control laws. Indeed the First Minister was himself warned about this when he was Justice Secretary yet he has done nothing.”

“Postal workers deliver vital services for Scotland’s communities and we fully support responsible dog ownership.

“But our posties should not continue to be put at risk from owners who take no responsibility for their dog’s behaviour and the Scottish Government who are taking no responsibility for the safety of the public and our posties.”

Yousaf said there are currently more than 1,200 active dog control notices in Scotland, with XL bullies representing 2% of these.

But he added: “One dog attack is of course one too many. We’ve taken a whole range of actions to protect communities as best as we possibly can and that dog control notice regime that we do have will undoubtedly help.”

 

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