Boy survives Rottweiler playground attack

A two-year-old boy is in hospital after being mauled by a Rottweiler on a playground in Lower Austria yesterday (Thurs).Sebastian was climbing on a rocking horse when the five-year-old dog Dino attacked, biting him on the backside.The Rottweiler – which already injured a girl three years ago – was crossing the playground in Ternitz with its owner Johann K. The 74-year-old kept the dog on a leash but did not issue it with a muzzle, a breach of provincial law.The man – who faces negligent bodily harm charges – failed to hold the dog back and was also attacked having both hands savaged as he tried to free the terrified child who was accompanied by his 65-year-old grandfather August R.Witness Johann Ofner also came to the rescue and the child was helicoptered to Vienna’s SMZ Ost clinic to undergo emergency surgery. The Rottweiler was put down by a local vet the same day.SMZ Ost doctor Thomas Weber said today that Sebastian’s injuries were not life threatening.Emergency surgeon Nicole Steiner explained: “The boy was very lucky as no organs were hurt in the attack. The dog’s teeth missed the kidney by just a few centimetres.”The incident is the latest in a string of dog attacks across Austria.Around 5,900 people are hospitalised in Austria following dog attacks, according to the Federal Committee for Traffic and Leisure Time Safety (KfV).Critics have attacked political decision-makers for failing to set up standardised dog-keeping laws for the whole country as all of Austria’s nine provinces have different rules.The Viennese Social Democratic (SPÖ) government was criticised recently when it emerged that none of the 684 applicants for the city’s new dog-keeping licence failed the test which consists of a theoretical part as well as practical exercises such as walking with a leashed dog past runners and cyclists.The law came into effect on 1 July following a referendum on whether such a test should become mandatory for owners of so-called fighting dogs. Almost nine in 10 of participating Vienna residents opted for yes in the questioning last February.Animal activists have claimed the ruling stigmatised certain canines as the licence was only mandatory for owners of 12 breeds – including Pit-bull Terriers and Staffordshire Terrier – considered more dangerous than others.Animal shelters in the city, meanwhile, have warned they would soon reach full capacity due to an increasing number of abandoned “blacklisted” breeds.