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Anger as toddler is savaged by pet dog.

Byline: JACK MATHIESON EXCLUSIVE

A BABY girl needed skin grafts to a gaping leg wound after being savaged by an Alsatian dog .

Twenty-month-old Aimee Austin was being carried from a relative's home by her 12-year-old cousin Cindy when the dog pounced.

The beast first bit the older girl on the foot as she tried to fight it off.

It then sank its teeth into Aimee's left ankle, damaging the nerve and leaving her screaming in agony.

Terrified grandad Randolph, 51, yesterday called for police to be given greater powers to have dogs destroyed when they attack without provocation

He could barely look at Aimee's horrific injuries as he rushed her to Edinburgh's Sick Kids Hospital.

The plumber, from Newtongrange, Midlothian, said: "After something like this happens we should not have to wait up to eight months for the case to get to court.

"Police should be able to contact the procurator fiscal and get an order to have the dog destroyed.

He added: "This dog has bitten a few times before."

Mr Austin spoke out as three-year-old Bradley Morgan recovered from an attack by his grandparents' Rottweiler in Perthshire last weekend.

Bradley's mother, Lesley, has already said she wants the breed banned as pets.

Yesterday Randolph backed her, saying: "It is in the public interest to put a dog like this in a secure place until its behavioural problems can be assessed by experts."

He added: "This Alsatian's owner let it out without it being on a leash. It went for Cindy first, then Aimee.

"She was bitten above the ankle but it could easily have been her face.

"The injuries were horrific - I was crying my eyes out."

Aimee was attacked on June 16 while visiting her dad, who is separated from her mum.

She needed surgery that night, skin grafts on the Monday and was kept in hospital until the following weekend.

Her mum, Debbie McKellar, 21, of nearby Bonnyrigg, said: "I was totally shocked when I saw Aimee. Then she saw how upset I was and she got upset too."

She added: "Aimee is now petrified of dogs. A couple of days ago I took her to her aunt's and she wouldn't go near her wee Border Collie."

Lothian and Borders Police yesterday confirmed they were investigating the incident.

Owner Ronnie Fleming has promised them he will have his Alsatian put down but as yet officers have had no confirmation it has been done.

He was not at home yesterday and could not be contacted for comment.
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jul 13, 2001
Words:420
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