Posted on 20 May 2021
A Melbourne man says more needs to be done to remove dangerous dogs from their owners after his nose was bitten off by an unrestrained bull Arab American staffy-cross at a local soccer game in Cairnlea.
Soccer club volunteer and father of four, Yiltan Caltikusu, had been crouching down and watching the match at Kevin Flint Memorial Reserve when the dog lunged at him on 21 June 2014. The dog’s lead was not fastened securely and had been under the owner’s foot.
Mr Caltikusu underwent four surgeries including an unsuccessful re-attachment and nasal tip reconstruction involving tissue taken from his hairline area to create a new nose. He was forced to wear a wore a prosthetic nose for some time.
He lodged civil legal action against the dog’s owner, which was settled recently, providing him with compensation for his nasal blockage problems resulting in difficulty breathing and sleeping, as well as flashbacks, night terrors and the overall impact of the attack on his mental health.
Daughter Ulfet Dalbudak, said following the attacks her father became reclusive and would not leave the house.
“He became depressed and lost his confidence. In the beginning it affected his ability to care for my sister with cerebral palsy. He was petrified of his own dogs and wouldn’t go into the backyard so I had to feed them. He’s still fearful of dogs on the street,” she said.
“He’s not the same person that he used to be. He will never be happy with his face and the scars but he has to live with it. He can’t feel the top of his forehead. His nose has sunk and he is facing more surgery.”
Mr Caltikusu, who was 54 at the time of the terrifying ordeal, said he was disappointed the dog hadn’t been put down and fears it may still be a danger to others, including young children.
“More needs to be done to remove animals like this from their owners. The attack should never have happened,” he said.
Slater and Gordon Principal Lawyer Joseph Catoggio, who represented Mr Caltikusu, said it was important for dog owners to have insurance to cover the costs, in case their dog were to attack someone.
“Dog attacks are still quite prevalent in our communities with some pets targeting children, adults or the elderly. Most concerning is that a lot of dog owners don’t have pet insurance or home and contents insurance which can cover you if your dog attacks someone else,” Mr Catoggio said.
“It can be very costly for an uninsured dog owner if their dog does attack someone. If you do have insurance, check your policy.”
Mr Catoggio said the law was favourable to dog attack victims in Victoria, with the Domestic Animals Act stating that if an offending dog attacks a human and causes injury, then the owner is strictly liable.
“The owner is responsible regardless of the prior mannerisms or behaviours of the dog. It’s a good reminder that if you come face to face with a dog you don’t know, be vigilant. Owners need to be even more vigilant having their dogs around the general public,” Mr Catoggio said.
Media Contact Anna Chisholm (03) 9602 8683/ 0437 801 093