Schoolboy savaged by dogs 'blames himself'.


A schoolboy savaged by two dogs while playing with friends "blames himself" after his family made the tough decision to re-home their OWN pets. Lewis Barkley, 11, was bitten and dragged around a park in Speke, Merseyside, by two dogs in June. Following the attack, Lewis' family had to re-home their own pets as he was so traumatised by the incident. They had Scarlett, a five-year-old German Shepherd, and Ruben, a seven-year-old Labrador, that Lewis has grown up with as a child.
Josh Shields, Lewis' father, said: "We had to rehome our dogs [and] that has had a massive [effect] on him because he thinks it [is] his fault that our dogs are gone."Lewis came with me to pick them up like puppies and he actually chose the Labrador."My little girl [also] idolised the dogs and she still shouts for them now. She doesn't understand why they have gone."The dogs have been taken in by friends of the family, but have gone to separate homes which Josh finds particularly upsetting. The 27-year-old added: "They had gone to separate houses so have had to be split up, which is difficult because they have always been together."
The horrifying attack which Lewis thought was going to cost him his life has left him with both physical and mental scars. He has recently started counselling and could have PTSD. The year 8 pupil also returned to school this week and has started boxing again, for the first time since the incident. Josh, who works as a full-time carer for his six-year-old autistic son Harry, said: "Lewis has started back at school this week, and it is the first time he has been back since the attack."He was supposed to start last week but he came home vomiting, I can't be sure if it was anxiety or if it was a bug."We are aiming for him to get back to normality."The youngster has been left feeling nervous doing minor tasks, such as walking to the bus stop which is 10 yards from his front door. Lewis has been left particularly fearful of dogs and often hides behind his father when they are approaching. The father-of-four explained: "He is very wary now. I was out with him around three or four weeks ago and he saw a dog approaching off the lead and hid behind me."The dogs that attacked Lewis still have not been found by police, but Josh thinks to find them may help to give Lewis some peace of mind. Therefore Lewis' dad is desperately calling for any information that could help officers track them down.
Speaking to the Echo about his family's ordeal, Josh said: "It could be someone else's child next. They could be being kept in a house where there are children and they're very dangerous."The dogs were in the care of Fredrick Farnsworth, from Speke, at the time of the incident. The 72-year-old has pleaded guilty to two counts of being in charge of a dog which was dangerously out of control causing injury and is set to be sentenced on October 10.