In what is thought to be one of the first times DNA testing has been used in a Scottish dangerous dog investigation Police took swabs from a pet Staffordshire bull terrier which confirmed it was responsible for an attack on a nine year old girl. Johanna McQuillan was playing in the park near her home in Ayr with her three year old sister when she was attacked and left requiring two hours of surgery to repair the wounds to her legs. The dog's owner Emma Hastings was not aware the dog had escaped from her home prior to the attack but took her dog to the police when she recognised a description of the animal responsible for the attack. Police took DNA and other evidence which confirmed "Mally" was responsible. He was later returned to Ms Hastings who took the decision to have him put to sleep. Johanna's dad thanked Ms Hastings for coming forwards confirming that he bore no grudges and describing her as a "good citizen" expressing sympathy that the dog had been destroyed. The Daily Record quoted Ms Hastings as saying "I never ever imagined Mally would have been capable of something like this. This has made me doubt whether you can really trust your animals. It shows any dog can change. A little girl has been left permanently disfigured and will probably be afraid of dogs for the rest of her life." Slee Blackwell Solicitor and dog bite solicitor James McNally says "All too often when I speak to victims of dog attacks they have been left upset by the lack of assistance they receive from the police and by the disappointing and unduly defensive attitude from the dog owner. This case shows what a difference it can make by having police willing to take an attack seriously and have the fore thought to consider an potentially expensive and labour intensive technique such as DNA testing and by having a responsible dog owner whose first thoughts lie with the victim and not their pet. Both should be praised for the approach they took."
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