Girl attacked by Rottweiler awarded €150,000

Lauren Kelly pictured in Crumlin Children's Hospital after following the Rottweiller attack in 2011. Photo Gary Ashe/Allpix.
A young Abbeylara girl, who was attacked by a Rottweiler and sustained serious injuries, has settled her High Court action for €150,000.

A young Abbeylara girl, who was attacked by a Rottweiler and sustained serious injuries, has settled her High Court action for €150,000.

Lauren Kelly was playing ‘hunting the wren’ with family and friends on St Stephen’s Day (December 26), 2011 when she came across a Rottweiler that escaped from its home.

The Rottweiler attacked Lauren – who was just nine years old at the time – and despite Lauren´s mother, Marcella, and friends trying to pull the dog away, Lauren suffered multiple bite injuries to her upper right arm. The little girl was treated at hospital and subsequently had to undergo skin graft operations which resulted in significant scarring.

Marcella recalled, “It was frightening. Only for our two neighbours, if they didn’t appear, I don’t know what would have happened because there was no way I was going to be fit to fend off the dog.”

Lauren spent a month in hospital following the attack. Marcella told the ‘Leader’, “She was in hospital from December 26 to January 27. She was treated in Mullingar (Midland Regional Hospital) for one night and then transferred to Crumlin (Children’s Hospital) the next morning where she spent a month. I’ve nothing but praise for the doctors and staff at Crumlin, they were excellent.”

Marcella explained that it was a difficult time for all her family. “It was a tough month. I’d three other small kids and they were left without a mother for a month. Lauren was so badly injured. Adrenalin kicked in, I suppose, and you just don’t think of anything else.”

Lauren made a claim for compensation for her injuries through her father – Michael Kelly, Abbey Court, Abbeylara – alleging that the owner of the dog - William Crawford, Cloonaghmore, Abbeylara - had been negligent in allowing the Rottweiler to escape. The claim was denied and in order for the settlement to be approved, Lauren’s claim was heard before Mr Justice Kevin Cross at the High Court.

Judge Cross was told by Willie Penrose BL how Lauren had been tossed around like a rag doll while the attack was in progress and how she subsequently suffered nightmares. She sustained at least 26 puncture wounds, and had been bitten from the base of her neck down to her forearm. She had to undergo a skin graft. Lauren also has to wear a protective sleeve while swimming to prevent an infection to her arm.

Marcella explained, “We are relieved this is over and justice has been served in some way. Lauren is fine and well. She is scarred and she is always going to be. No amount of plastic surgery or whatever will fill some of the holes that are in her arm.”

Mr Justice Kevin Cross approved the €150,000 settlement which will be held in an interest-bearing account until Lauren reaches the age of eighteen.