The Dublin High Court has awarded a settlement of €55,000 to the victim of a dog bite as compensation for his injuries.

Joseph Dunne (63) was working as a postman around Kilbeggan, County Westmeath in October 2008. While delivering post to an address in the area, owned by Ms Olive Dalton and Mr Martin Maher,he was attacked the couple’s husky dog that escaped from the rear house through a hole in the hedge. He was knocked flat by the dog, and sustained injuries from its claws and teeth.

Fortunately, the attack was halted when a passer-by hit the dog’s back with a stick. The emergency services were notified, and Joseph was immediately removed from the scene and escorted to hospital.

The victim received a total of twenty-two stitches to injuries spanning the right side of his face. He also suffered nerve damage to the right side of his forehead. Upon removal of these stitches, it was necessary for Joseph to undergo plastic surgery in an attempt to disguise the resultant scars.

Joseph subsequently sought legal advice, and decided to make a claim for compensation against the dog’s owners for negligence. He claimed that the failed to securely enclose the dog in their garden, and also failed to inform An Post of the dangerous dog living on the property.

Mr Maher and Ms Dalton denied any liability for the injuries sustained by the victim, and the claim went to the High Court, where it was heard by Mr Justice Michael Moriarty.

The judge decided in Joseph’s favour, and awarded him €55,000 of compensation for his dog bite injury. The judge went on to comment that he thought Joseph had been courageous in returning to work as quickly as he did, in spite of the frightening nature of the attack.

The dog was put down by a veterinarian the day following the incident.

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