A tragic incident occurred on Monday in the Ikorodu area of Lagos State after 3 Alsatian dogs ferociously attacked a 5-year-old girl, Aliyah Masaku on Alhaji Abdul Hakeem Bin Sulaimon Avenue, off Ewuren Road.
According to eyewitnesses, the attack lasted for about 2 hours and they could not gain access into the compound as the gates were locked, and there are over 10 dogs in the compound.
“Initially, we thought it was the child’s father that was beating her when she started crying for help. When we realised that the dogs were attacking her, we couldn’t do anything because there were many dogs at the main gate,” one neighbour said.
According to medical officers at the Emergency Ward of the Ikorodu General Hospital, where the victim was rushed to, the attack led to the damage of one of the toddler’s eyes.
The dogs also removed one of the victim’s tooth and inflicted multiple lacerations on several parts of her body.
“When she was brought here, we thought she was dead. One of her eyes is damaged. It might take a plastic surgery for her to see again. A tooth was removed by the dogs, while the other teeth were seriously affected. She has multiple lacerations in her face, legs, arms and other parts,” one medical personnel said.
According to PUNCH, the dogs are owned by the Landlord of house where Aliyah lived with her father, Wasiu.
The Landlord had travelled to London and handed over care of the dogs to Wasiu.
Wasiu had reportedly left the house to get dog feed, when one of the dogs, identified as Rover, allegedly broke loose from the kennel and entered Wasiu’s apartment.
The dog reportedly dragged the victim to the back of the house where it was joined by two others in attacking the girl.
Wasiu said a neighbour called him to inform him about the incident
“Aliyah, my daughter, was formerly staying with her mother in Cotonou, Benin Republic, before she started living with me. Since then, she had become familiar with the dogs and played with them. If any visitor is scared of coming into the house, she goes out to bring them in.
She was supposed to go to school yesterday (Monday), but because I had an issue with her teacher, I asked her to stay at home till I get her a new school. I left her in the house around 3pm and went to buy feed for the dogs. I left two of the dogs roaming free because they were docile. I, however, put Rover in a kennel because it was ferocious and had broken free several times.
Some minutes after I went to the market, I got a call that my daughter had been attacked by the dogs. I ran back home and checked the compound without seeing anything. I searched the street as well without any result. Later, somebody raised the alarm that she was at the backyard. There, I saw three dogs on my daughter, who lay still,” he said.
He said he subdued the dogs with a stick and chased them away.
One of the neighbours said that the dogs bit Wasiu and a veterinary doctor who had also arrived at the scene.
One of the tenants, Wale Anjorin, said that after the attack, some residents broke into the house at about 11PM and destroyed some properties in the premises.
Anjorin added that they killed Rover.
“They said the dog cannot live within the same neighbourhood with them. They wanted to burn down the house. They smashed the windscreen of a tricycle on the premises and later killed the dog,” he said.
Residents are calling on the state government to take the dogs away from the area as they are constituting a threat to their lives.
“The landlord just returned to the UK six days ago. When he came, he asked them to take the dogs out because they had been infested with lice and ticks. He said the house should be fumigated. But that is not enough. We don’t want the dogs again,” one woman said.
When the Landlord, Abdul-Akeem Sulaimon, was called, he said he had already handed over the responsibility of the dogs to Wasiu, thus, cannot take responsibility for the attack.
“Why not question those on the ground? Ask those who were principally involved. Someone is responsible. Those involved are there with you,” he said.
According to Olubukola Salami, the Director of Lagos State Office of the Public Defender, who led a delegation to the hospital and the house, the state government will remove the dogs from the house to forestall a recurrence.
“This is a shocking case enough to break the heart of even the most hardened person. If proper care is not taken, this girl could lose her life because of negligence and greed. Proper safety measures were not followed and someone tried to cut corners in the feeding and maintenance of the dogs. It is not wise to leave children and dangerous dogs alone without close supervision as it has happened in this case.
The Lagos State Government will look into extant laws on breeding dogs in residential areas with a view to evacuating those dogs and preventing such from happening again in the future. Regarding the young girl, we are looking on how to alleviate her pain and suffering,” she said.
Photo Credit: PUNCH