A young girl who the High Court heard was “savaged by a sheepdog” on a farm and has been left with permanent scarring on her face has settled a High Court action for €175,000.
The 14-year old girl, who cannot be named by order of the court, was seven years old when the dog attacked her on a friend’s farm.
Her Counsel Oonah McCrann SC told the court the girl was “savaged by a sheepdog on a friend’s property” and suffered significant scarring.
The girl she said is happy to be now wearing a face mask during the pandemic as it covers up her scars.
Counsel said the girl who was seven years of age at the time was visiting the farm of a friend when the attack occurred.
“It was an atrocious traumatic experience,” Counsel said.
The parties in the case cannot be named as the court ordered that no information may be given to identify the young girl.
She had through her father sued the farmer who owned the dog as a result of the attack on the farm on October 4,2014. The sheepdog, it was claimed, was allowed to roam freely around the farmyard.
It was claimed that when she was a lawful visitor on the property a sheepdog owned by the farmer jumped upon the child and violently bit her about the face and neck.
The dog had her face between his jaws. He violently shook her and flesh from her nose, forehead and upper and lower lips as well as her neck and gums were torn away.
The child had seven areas of injury to her face including flesh missing from her lips and puncture wounds on her neck, between her eyebrows and under her chin. Her gums were also torn away from her lower teeth.
She was rushed to a local hospital and later transferred to Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children Crumlin, Dublin where she had surgery. Surgery lasted over three hours and involved plastic surgery for her facial injuries and the re-attachment of her gums to her teeth.
She now has a number of permanent scars around her nose, lips and around her neck. Following the dog attack she suffered recurring nightmares and remains very traumatised, it was claimed, and becomes extremely frightened and wary when in the presence of strange dogs.
It was claimed the sheepdog had been permitted to wander freely in the environs of the property and there was a failure to anticipate the emergency which occurred. It was further claimed there was a failure to take any adequate precaution to prevent the dog from becoming a danger to people.
Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told that liability was not an issue in the case.
Approving the settlement Mr Justice Cross said it was a good one.
He said the girl had an awful experience and he hoped that she will now be able to put it behind her.