Hackney Homes worker bitten by Pitbull-type dog paid undisclosed settlement deal

Chris Dew's dog injury

Chris Dew's dog injury - Credit: Archant

A former Hackney Homes anti-social behaviour officer has been paid an undisclosed amount of compensation after he was attacked by a pit-bull type dog.

Chris Dew

Chris Dew - Credit: Archant

Hackney Homes worker Chris Dew, 42, was investigating complaints from Stamford Hill residents about three dogs in May 2011, and had taken an RSPCA officer along for support.

Mr Dew, from Brentwood, was talking to the householder when the dogs which had been in the garden bounded into the living room barking, before one of them leapt up to bite his face, puncturing his neck.

Two of the dogs had to be put down.

Although Mr Dew reported the incident to his managers, he claimed Hackney Homes continued sending him out on jobs dealing with dangerous dogs, causing anxiety.

Eventually he felt he had no choice but to hand in his notice as he could no longer continue visiting people’s homes, and he also postponed his wedding to fiancé Clare after he spiralled into depression.

After instructing solicitors the council’s arms-length management organisation admitted responsibility and agreed to pay Mr Dew an undisclosed settlement for his “loss of earnings, pain and suffering”.

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Mr Dew said: “The main crux is that Hackney didn’t follow their own policies and procedures when dealing with an attack on a member of staff.

“They didn’t take any recommendations from occupational health on board, they were hoping to sweep it under the carpet and make it go away

“I’m not blaming them for the initial attack - you work in a kitchen and you are going to break a few eggs - the dog incident was almost secondary to the way in which it was handled.”

Mr Dew said he wants to stop similar incidents happening to any other member of staff and for the council to take the issue of responsible dog ownership more seriously.

“It’s not the dog’s fault,” he said.

“It’s the owners. Unless we tell the owners how it needs to be done you get these situations on a daily basis, I handled a number of dog attacks including a gentleman who lost his finger.

“I’m all too aware my injuries could have been much worse and a routine plan needs to be put in place to protect workers in these situations.”

A Hackney Homes spokesman said a claim made to Hackney Homes was settled by the insurers.

Hackney Homes takes the safety of its staff and residents very seriously and has worked closely with the council on a new tenancy agreement which requires tenants to gain permission to keep a dog,” he said.