Mother devastated after terrier spared

McKenna Frew and Kimberley Mulllin.
McKenna Frew and Kimberley Mulllin.

A terrier that was due to be destroyed for biting a six-year-old girl has been spared after the sheriff principal lifted the destruction order.

Burnfoot youngster McKenna Frew was scarred for life after she was bitten on the cheek by the Airedale terrier as she returned from school with her father Craig Frew. The incident happened as she was waiting for her dad so she could hold his hand crossing the road.

In a court case earlier this year, Karissa Johnstone, who was in charge of her father’s dog at the time, walked free from court after the case against her was thrown out.

Johnstone, who was on her mobile phone at the time of the incident, had been accused of being in charge of a dangerously out of control dog.

And last week’s ruling, which came after an appeal from John Johnstone, the dog’s owner, has left McKenna’s parents devastated.

Speaking to the Hawick News this week, mum Kimberley Mullin said: “I am totally devastated that this dog won’t be destroyed.

“We have to walk past the house where it stays every day on the way to school and she is terrified it might attack her again.”

And six-year-old McKenna told us: “I am very scared that the bad dog will bite me on the other side of my face. I don’t like it.”

Ms Mullin added that her daughter has been “physically, mentally and emotionally” scarred for life.

McKenna has regular therapy sessions to help her come to terms with her disfigurement and her nightmares are so bad she is often physically sick.

Earlier this year, sheriff Peter Grant Hutchison ordered terrier Finlay be destroyed after Scottish Borders Council raised a civil action against the dog’s owner.

But earlier this month the sheriff principal concluded that a dog control notice, put in place in April this year, provided sufficient protection to the public.

The dog’s owner must ensure that the dog is walked “outwith the confines of the town” and must be muzzled when out of the family home and it must be controlled to prevent escape from the
family home or garden, must be walked by a responsible person and must not be
taken in the “vicinity of the school”.

But according to Ms Mullin these conditions are being broken on a daily basis.

McKenna’s father Craig Frew added: “I am totally disgusted. I feel we have been badly let down by the justice system that I always thought was in place to protect us.”

The Hawick News attempted to contact the owners of Airedale terrier Finlay on Thursday but we were unable to do so.