The owner of a German Shepherd puppy which attacked a young boy as he playing with his friends has been jailed for 16 months.
The victim suffered puncture wounds and a broken arm and needed emergency surgery under general anaesthetic. It was the second time in a fortnight Beau the Alsatian had attacked the same child.
A destruction order has now been issued for the animal and the owner has been disqualified from keeping dogs for 10 years.
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Mold Crown Court heard that on the evening of November 27 last year the pet was able to get out of owner Steven Price’s house in Church Stoke, Powys, after the defendant’s toddler daughter opened the front door.
The dog went on to bite a young boy who was playing with his friends – sinking its teeth into the child’s arm, knocking him over, and “shaking” him for 30 seconds. When 31-year-old Price realised what was happening he called off the dog and the victim ran away. The boy was subsequently taken to hospital where he underwent emergency surgery to reset fractures in his arm. He has been left with permanent scarring.
Price, who runs his own landscape gardening business, later went to see the injured boy’s family and suggested the matter could be “kept quiet” with the broken arm being attributed to the youngster falling off his bike.
The court heard the attack happened two weeks after Beau had bitten the same boy – again after getting out of the house. This earlier incident resulted in only minor injuries and it had not been been reported to the police at the time after Price apologised and reassured his parents it was a “one-off”.
In an impact statement the boy – whose identity is protected by a court order – said he now felt anxious around strange dogs and wasn’t yet able to resume the sport he enjoyed taking part in because of his arm injury.
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Steven Michael Price, of Orchard Close, Church Stoke, Powys, admitted two counts of being the owner of a dog dangerously out of control which caused injury. He has 15 previous convictions for 25 offences.
Michael Gray, for Price, said there had been no previous problems with the puppy Beau who was a “dearly-loved” family pet. He said steps had been taken to help reduce the risk of similar incidents re-occurring in the future such as the installation of higher fencing around the defendant’s garden though he acknowledged “further work” with an animal behaviourist would probably need to be done if the dog were to be able to return home.
Judge Nicola Jones said the fact Price had failed to act after the first attack was a significant aggravating factor when it came to sentencing. She said that, combined with the age of the victim and the ongoing impact of the attack, the fact the defendant had tried to prevent the incident being reported, and the presence of other youngsters at the scene meant it was not appropriate to suspend the term of imprisonment that was due. Giving Price a one-third discount for his guilty pleas the judge sentenced him to 16 months in prison. The defendant will serve up to half that period in custody before being released on licence.
Price was banned from keeping dogs for the next 10 years and the judge issued a destruction order for Beau saying he was clearly “unpredictable” and posed a risk to the public.
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