Boy, 11, attacked by XL bully while protecting siblings

An 11-year-old boy has described the “terrifying” moment he was attacked by a dangerous dog while trying to protect his younger siblings.

Theo had to be taken to hospital for stitches after being bitten by an XL bully outside a house in Newport.

He was walking with his family when the dog appeared – but showed bravery and quick instinct to ensure that they were not harmed.

“Because I know my brother and sister are petrified of dogs, I thought I would distract the dog away,” he said.

“I thought I could outrun it, but then I tripped over, and it latched on to the back of my leg.”

The incident happened outside St Michael’s Church in Pillgwenlly shortly before midday on 30 June, as the family were walking to their car following a service.

They noticed an XL bully outside a nearby house, and waited for it to go back inside before walking past.

But the dog came running back out towards them, prompting Theo to think quickly and divert it away from brother Frankie, nine, and sister Susie, seven.

“They were all behind me so I just ran to the left, went around a car, but then fell over,” he said.

The dog was eventually pulled away by its owner, but not before it had bitten Theo on the thigh causing puncture wounds and a deep cut.

“As soon as I looked down and saw the blood on the floor I was feeling it,” said Theo.

“When a big dog like that’s chasing you it’s not very nice.”

His father Michael Hughes, 43, did not witness the incident but was quickly on the scene.

“If the owner wasn’t there or if it was a smaller child, it could have been really bad,” he said.

Theo was then taken to hospital, where he says the care from staff was “really good” despite not being able to sit down because of his injuries.

Dad Michael added that he and Tina had been “angry and scared” about the situation.

“We all just wanted to get to the hospital and get good news more than anything,” he explained.

“There’s arteries at the back of the leg, it was just a scary moment all round.”

Thankfully Theo is on the mend, and will be getting his stitches taken out on Thursday – when he is also hoping for the all clear to play football and rugby again soon.

“I’m feeling way better, I can pretty much run now,” he smiles.

But the incident has already served as a warning for some of his classmates – including a friend who had been about to get a new boxer dog.

“The day I was back in school and he found out what happened, he said ‘I’m not getting one’,” said Theo.

“Everyone from school has been very nice to me.”

And though the attack has not put him off dogs in general, he is now wary of the ones “with a big mouth from ear to ear”.

Although it is not illegal to own an XL bully in Wales, owners must be registered.

“I think they should be banned altogether,” said Michael. “Signing a piece of paper is too easy. They’re out there without muzzles attacking people.

“More needs to be done, because these dogs are such a weapon. I know it’s a sad thing to say, but I can’t see another way. They do seem to attack for no reason.”

Theo agrees: “Yeah, get rid of them.”

Gwent Police confirmed that they had been informed of the incident.

“An 11-year-old boy was taken to hospital for treatment, his injuries are not life-threatening," a statement said.

It added that a “registered XL bully dog was surrendered to officers by the owner”, in order to be put down.