Anger after child’s dog bite ‘hell’

McKenna Frew after the dog attack
McKenna Frew after the dog attack

A local mum-of-five is calling for new dangerous dog laws after her daughter was scarred for life in Burnfoot last year.

And Kimberley Mullin has slammed the justice system which allowed the person in charge of the dog to walk free from court last week after the case against her was thrown out: “I hope no other family has to go through what we’ve had to endure. It’s been terrible”,said Ms Mullin.

McKenna Frew, who was four years old at the time of the attack, and now describes herself as having a “broken face”, was scarred for life after she was bitten on the cheek by an Airdale terrier as she returned from Burnfoot Community School with her father. The incident happened as she was waiting for her dad so she could hold his hand crossing the road.

Karissa Johnstone, who was on her mobile phone at the time of the attack, was accused of being in charge of a dangerously out of control dog which Led to McKenna’s cheek being ripped open.

And speaking this week, a clearly emotional Ms Mullin, said: “There has been no justice for my daughter. It’s been total hell. We have had to take the mirrors out of the house as she can’t bear to see the scar. It’s been so hard.”

She continued: “My daughter has been physically, emotionally and mentally scarred for life.”

At last week’s trial at Selkirk, Sheriff Kevin Drummond accepted that the Airedale Terrier, called Finlay, bit McKenna’s cheek.

But he agreed with defence lawyer Ian Burke, who said Johnstone had no “reasonable apprehension” that the dog was dangerous, and found her not guilty.

Five-year-old McKenna now has regular therapy sessions to help her come to terms with her injuries.

Earlier this year, another sheriff, Peter Grant-Hutchison, ordered six-year-old Finlay be destroyed after Scottish Borders Council raised a civil action against the dog’s owner, John Johnstone, 42 –Karissa’s father – arising from the same incident. But that decision has been appealed and a ruling is awaited from the sheriff principal.

During the trial, witness Brian Elliot said he saw several children walking home from school at his home in Eildon Road around 3pm on May 8, 2013. The girl was standing at the edge of the pavement as the dog went past,” he said. “The dog turned and jumped up and put both paws on the wee girl and she went down like a ton of bricks.” The 49-year-old builder added the incident happened “out of the blue”.

Another witness, Natasha Elliot, said that in May 2012 Finlay had attacked her labrador pup and she had to kick him to get him off.