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Post by celticpitbulls on Fri Apr 06, 2012 2:11 am

Boy, 3, savaged by pet husky

By Jimmy Woulfe, Mid-West Correspondent

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Armed with a shovel, a Limerick man wrestled a toddler from the jaws of a pet husky, saving the child from certain death.

Reece O’Leary, who will turn three this month, was said to be out of danger at Cork University Hospital last night, where he is being treated for savage bite wounds.

He and mum Mags O’Leary were in the back garden of the family home in Yeats Avenue, Carew Park, on Tuesday when the husky owned by Mags’s partner, Ernest Walsh, turned on the child.

Neighbour Jonathan Curtin, 21, who rushed to the rescue, said: "I heard screams from my mother who was upstairs in our house. I was in my car out the back. I jumped out and realised something terrible was happening in the garden next to ours. I grabbed [the] shovel and jumped the garden wall.

"What I saw was terrifying, The dog had the child in his mouth like a rag doll and was tearing around the back garden with the child in his mouth.

"Mags was pulling the child and the dog was pulling him in the opposite direction. The mother was holding the child as the dog was holding him with his teeth.

"I hit the dog with the shovel.

The child’s mother was screaming and at this stage all the child’s clothes had been ripped off.

"All I could see was flesh and blood.

"I hit the dog, he left go but came back again and again. I managed to get the child and the mother into the house, but the dog kept coming after him.

"He followed us in the back door. Only that I managed to beat him off with the shovel the little boy was dead.

"When the guards came after, with a man to take the dog away, the man who took him away said these dogs are bred to take down a bear."

Jonathan’s father, Michael Curtin, said: "For some reason, all the dog wanted was the child, for whatever reason.

"We never saw anything out of him before this, only the odd bark. My son definitely saved the child’s life as I just couldn’t get over the wall, but he could"
Family friend Debbie Hehir, 37, came on the horror scene.

She said: "Only for Jonathan Curtin the child would have been torn to death."

Holding Reece’s blood-stained, shredded T-shirt and denims, Debbie said: "I followed the ambulance to the hospital. He was later sent to Cork. He had huge wounds, but, thank God, his face seemed OK.

"When they were putting him into the ambulance he was moaning and was in shock. But they were happy he was awake and in good hands with ambulance people.

"Mags was in shock. I stayed at the hospital until they sent Reece to Cork."

As there was no dog warden available in Limerick, Roxboro Rd gardaí had to call in the Clare warden, Frank Coote, who travelled from Ennis and, with the help of Limerick dog volunteer Mike Madden, removed the dog to a pound in Ennis.

Mags O’Leary and Ernest Walsh have one other child, Rhiann, five, who was not in the garden when the family pet turned violent.

The couple remained at Reece’s bedside in Cork yesterday.

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