Five-year-old boy savaged by Tibetan mastiff in China

Child needs dozens of stitches to head after dog slips its leash and attacks him

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 06 December, 2017, 2:15pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 06 December, 2017, 6:44pm

A five-year-old boy suffered head injuries that required dozens of stitches after he was attacked by a Tibetan mastiff in southwest China, local media reported.

The attack happened on Saturday when the boy was visiting family in Luojiang, Sichuan province.

The dog slipped its leash and dragged the boy down before savaging him.

The mastiff’s owner said he would wait for the police investigation to conclude before agreeing what to pay in compensation, according to a report by Chengdu Economic Daily on Wednesday.

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The report did not say whether the owner would face any further action.

However, mainland Chinese law singles out certain dog breeds deemed to be particularly ferocious – including Tibetan mastiffs – saying that their owners will be held responsible if their dog attacks people, but does not set out any specific penalties.

The hospital bill was paid with money the boy’s family borrowed from friends.

The child was out of danger but remained in hospital after treatment, his mother, He Xianli, was quoted as saying.

She said her son was having nightmares where he was attacked by dogs and would cry in his sleep.

“What I am most worried about is whether he will have PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder],” the mother was quoted as saying.

The boy was given a rabies vaccine at the People’s Hospital of Luojiang on Saturday. He received 38 stitches to his face and head, and lost a piece of scalp on the back of his head, doctors said.

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Originally used as guard dogs for livestock and property, the Tibetan mastiff was developed centuries ago to help nomadic families during the harsh winters in the high-altitude grasslands of western China. The dogs can weigh up to 95kg and stand almost a metre tall.

They are also among the most expensive dogs in the world, with an average price of about US$1,600.

They are sought after by rich Chinese as a status symbol and reached the height of their popularity about a decade ago, although families in rural areas still use the mastiffs as guard dogs.