The owners of a pitbull have been ordered to pay damages of €104,021 to a man who suffered permanent injuries when he was attacked by the dog in Cospicua five years ago, when he was 14 years old.
The incident happened on August 20, 2018 when the dog attacked Jean Claude Vella as he disposed of some cardboard boxes near his father's confectionery. He suffered severe foot and leg injuries.
The boy's parents, Michael and Michelle Vella on behalf of their son filed a case for damages against the dog's owners Frances Pantalleresco and her son Marjan Lee.
The boy had recounted how the dog suddenly appeared in front of him. He did not move, but started calling out for his father. The dog then grabbed his right foot and he fell to the ground, screaming. It then tore into his left foot with greater ferocity until it let go when one of its owners arrived. The boy lost consciousness shortly after.
The court in its considerations said there was no doubt that the dog was owned by the respondents and they were responsible for it. It was also clear that the dog was not on a leash and had no muzzle.
The court observed that a doctor specialising in plastic and reconstructive surgery had said that the victim suffered a disability of 9% with pain which would diminish over time but may never go completely away. A psychologist who examined the victim after three years said he had suffered a 12% permanent disability.
After considering the victim's young age, his physical and psychological injuries, his current salary as a petrol pump attendant, inflation, and lump sum payment Mr Justice Toni Abela after finding the accused responsible for the incident, ordered them to pay damages of €104,021 plus interest.
Lawyers Keith Borg and Celine Cuschieri Debonoa ssisted the applicant.