(JAMAICA OBSERVER) — A 26-year-old woman who was attacked by dogs in her Fair Prospect community in East Portland last month is demanding compensation from the owner, after stating that the incident has not only left her traumatised, but seriously injured.
Natalya White, a volunteer at Seaview Basic School in the parish, in an interview with the Jamaica Observer North & East last week, said she was on her way home with her three-year-old nephew, when two dogs, one of which was a pit bull, attacked her.
The incident occurred shortly after 3:00 pm on September 25.
“I was coming into the scheme where I live. Me and my nephew, I was taking him home from school and the dog attacked us. I saw them moving towards us and the pit bull was angry, so I tried to protect him and pushed him behind me so I get all the damage. However, he is traumatised because in the nights he cannot sleep properly and stuff,” White explained.
The woman said both dogs rushed from a neighbour’s house, which had no fence or gate, and pounced on her, before bringing her to the ground.
At that time, she said she was only able to use a bag she was carrying to shield herself while kicking and screaming for help.
Her nephew wailed while witnessing the assault on his aunt.
“I was so frightened. I wasn’t sure if this was really happening to me. I was there crying out for help and I was just praying in my mind,” a tearful White continued, noting that the ordeal lasted for what seemed like 10 minutes.
Bloodied and battered, she said it was only after the mongrel stopped biting “suddenly” that the pit bull also backed off.
“I tried getting up but it was really hard but I had to. I grabbed my nephew and ran back up the road. That’s when a gentleman told me that he was working on a building close by and heard me screaming for help and was coming. He saw that I was in shock but the dogs were still there like following me and he used a stone to scare them off.
“Another lady said she heard someone crying out from inside her house and she came to see if she could help. After that, my mom too took me to the doctor to get some shots and medication. We went up back to the owner’s house to let them know what had happened,” the woman stated.
She told Observer North & East that she sustained injuries to parts of her hands and feet.
“On my left hand I have two bites on my hand and if I try to do certain things it pains me. On my right foot, the dog (pit bull) bit me. When I stand it is pure pain. On the inside, there’s a hole left from my attack. The flesh was taken out. Because I fell, both my knees are hurt as well,” White said.
“When we went the owner was not there but we spoke to his wife who said he would not be home until the weekend. So when he came Saturday (September 28) evening he said he saw messages in our community WhatsApp group that a pit bull and another dog had attacked someone in the community,” White shared.
She said despite this, nothing has been done by the owner to assist her.
She also said that a formal report was lodged at the Castle Comfort Police Station but was reportedly told that there is nothing the police could do.
“I made my report and I have my receipt but they said that they cannot do anything because it is a civil matter so I should take it to the court to get some form of compensation. They didn’t have any vehicle to come the day it was reported, but they came the next day and verified that the attack happened.
“All this has made me sad and terrified of the dogs. I would like some compensation for the damage that was inflicted on me. I never expected this to happen to me. I feel so sad and in pain. I feel afraid and I need to cover my medical bills,” said White.
The 1877 Dog Liability Act addresses the civil liability of dog owners. According to the Act, “The owner of every dog shall be liable in damages for injury done to any person, or any cattle or sheep by his dog.”
Additionally, the Act says damages shall be recoverable in any court of competent jurisdiction by the person injured, or by the owner of such cattle or sheep killed or injured.
Persons are prohibited from importing pit bull terriers into the country.
Last month, a St Richard’s Primary School teacher was viciously attacked by pit bulls.
The attack, which occurred on September 20, left the grade six teacher with serious wounds. She remains in hospital.
Last August, the Observer reported on the death of 66-year-old Whittington Cole who was attacked by four dogs in Hampton Green on July 21.
Cole was walking in the community about 12:45 am when he was attacked at the intersection of Grant’s Crescent and Locksley Avenue by dogs believed to be pit bulls and rottweilers.
He died at hospital.
Several government ministers have said they would review legislation on dangerous dogs. To date, this has not happened.