A GMB member who needed eight stitches after she was attacked by a dog in her local pub has received £5,000 in compensation.

Debbie McIvor, 41, from Morpeth was bitten twice in the face by the Weimaraner after she and her husband visited the Sun Inn Public House in Morpeth. 

She was bitten on the lip and eyebrow by the animal which had been let into the pub after time was called by its owner, pub landlord Raymond Bell.

She bent down to stroke the dog, which she had met before, when it suddenly turned on her.

Stitches required after dog attack

She needed eight stitches to her lip and had to have tetanus injection following the unprovoked attack in June 2009. She has been told the scar to her lip could take up to two years to fade.

Following the incident she decided to contact her trade union, the GMB, to enquire about pursuing compensation after fearing that the dog would go on to bite another person. 

Thompsons argued that the dog should have been kept under control by its owner and if there was a history of showing aggression it should have been muzzled.

Mrs McIvor said: “I was stunned when the dog bit me. I had met the dog on several occasions before and she always seemed excitable but friendly. I was extremely upset and traumatised by the whole thing.

“The bites have left an unsightly scar to the lip which I am told will take up to two years to fade and even then I will be left with an obvious mark. It was a difficult decision to pursue compensation but I strongly believe the dog’s owner needed to take responsibility for its behaviour and take steps to avoid it happening again. My biggest fear was that if I let this pass it could cause serious damage to a child in the future.”

Compensation claims can be pursued against the owners of animals which cause injury

Suzanne Reid from the GMB said: “Whilst Mrs McIvor was injured outside of work we were still able to offer her support through our free legal service which is available no matter where members suffer their accident. No-one expects to be bitten by a dog whilst visiting a public house. Whilst her scars are expected to fade with time the psychological effects of this incident are likely to stay with her the rest of her life.”

David Mole from Thompsons Solicitors added: “Many members of the public don’t realise that compensation claims can be pursued against the owners of animals which cause injury. Even the most placid dogs can be unpredictable creatures. It is up to the dog’s owner to make sure it is under control. This dog had a history of showing aggression and should have been both exercised more often and muzzled to avoid it biting anyone else.”