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Support dog allegedly bites 6yo student’s face at South Coast school

An investigation is underway after a six-year-old boy was allegedly bitten by a support dog at his school on New South Wales’ South Coast.

Blade Fraser suffered cuts to his face after reportedly attempting to give the labradoodle a cuddle.

SafeWork NSW is investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident, which took place at Sanctuary Point Public School on August 22.

It is believed the dog had been attending the school since 2018 to provide students with companionship and emotional support.

The child’s mother, Kellie Kuczynski, said she received a phone call before lunchtime saying her son had been involved in an incident with the school’s support dog, Buddy.

“I was shocked. I was devastated. I phoned my mum to come with me, not knowing what sort of state Blade was in,” Ms Kuczynski said.

Ms Kuczynski said the school principal had Buddy on the lead when Blade approached, asking if he could “cuddle” Buddy.

“He put his arms up around the dog’s neck to cuddle it, and it just mauled him,” she said.

Blade Fraser was reportedly attempting to cuddle the school’s support dog before he was bitten.(Supplied)

Blade was taken to a medical centre to seek treatment for the cuts to his face but was directed to the emergency department at Shoalhaven Hospital.

“He looked very white, very pale, like he didn’t know what was happening,” Ms Kuczynski said.

“He had blood all over the collar of his shirt.”

Ms Kuczynski has since criticised the school’s handling of the incident, claiming the dog was still on the premises, unleashed, when she arrived.

“The ambulance should have been called on the spot and so should have police and rangers and the dog should have been removed straight off the premises,” she said. 

Investigations underway

A Department of Education spokesperson said the dog had been permanently removed from the school following the incident and reviews were underway.

“In addition to undertaking our own review, the department is working with the school, SafeWork NSW and the local council in relation to this matter,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said counselling and support had been offered to Blade, his family and any witnesses.

A family pose with a koala

The Fraser family was left horrified by the incident.(Supplied)

A Shoalhaven City Council spokesperson said initial investigations had determined the dog regularly attended classes with the children and was “not considered to be dangerous”.

SafeWork NSW confirmed it was making inquiries into the incident but refused to make further comment at this time.

No other incidents regarding the dog have been officially reported.

What is a school support dog?

Schools across the state are using dogs to provide emotional support and companionship to students.

Under NSW department guidelines, support dogs are to be guided by their handler at all times.

While support dogs do not require formal accreditation to enter a school, they do require initial professional training and an annual check-up by a qualified dog trainer.

As a result of the incident, Ms Kuczynski wants all school support dogs to be fully qualified, the same as assistance dogs, before entering a school.

An assistance dog is a fully qualified dog accredited with the Public Access Test and meets the NSW standards for public access rights. 

Ms Kuczynski said Blade always had a love for dogs and she feared the alleged incident had caused irreversible damage.

“Blade is an animal lover. He would normally go out of his way to stop anyone in the street to ask if he can pat their dog,” she said.


https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-09-01/support-dog-alleged-attack-student-nsw-south-coast-school/102800930 Support dog allegedly bites 6yo student’s face at South Coast school

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