Seven-year-old girl dragged to the floor and attacked by dog, court is told

A dog escaped from a house then attacked a seven-year-old girl, a court was told.

By Nick Frame
Thursday, 16th December 2021, 3:48 pm

The German Shepherd dragged the youngster to the floor on a Horbury street and sunk his teeth into the girl's leg and her arm before its owner was able to drag the dog away.

Leeds Crown Court was told it was one of possibly three attacks by the three-year-old, named Brutus, as his owner Paul Driver admitted charges of having a dog dangerously out of control.

Prosecutor Ayman Khokhar said that Driver has three German Shepherds, including Brutus, which first attacked a woman on April 18, 2020.

Leeds Crown Court.

She had been walking through playing fields between Ossett and Lupset at 10pm when she saw a dog running towards her. Another then knocked her over from behind and one bit her leg.

She managed to shake him off, but the other dogs then began jumping up while scratching and biting her.

Driver then came running over and managed to get the dogs under control. He made sure the woman was okay and gave her his contact details.

He was later questioned and told officers two of the dogs had been on leads, while the third was not. He said he was on his mobile phone when the two on leads wriggled free and ran towards the woman who had a torch with her which is thought to have attracted the dogs.

Then on March 7 this year, the dogs managed to escape from Driver's home on The Shutt in Horbury when he left his front door open. Brutus ran out of the gate and attacked the seven-year-old girl who was playing in the street.

It took Driver and his son about a minute to get the dog off the girl.

Driver was extremely apologetic for the incident, the court was told.

The youngster was taken to hospital and needed to be under general anesthetic to treat her wounds. She was left terrified by dogs.

The day after, two of his dogs were removed by the police and placed into kennels.

Following that attack, another man came forward to tell police that he had been bitten by one of the dogs when he visited Driver's home in November 2020, although no charges were brought against him for this incident.

A dog behaviour expert was called to give evidence during the hearing, and concluded that both of the female German Shepherds were not a danger to the public.

Brutus meanwhile, did not pose any threat during the assessment but was found to 'grab and bite' out of frustration, which the court was told could be remedied with precautions.

Driver, a 42-year-old truck driver, admitted two charges of having dogs dangerously out of control.

Mitigating, Temitayo Dasaolu said that Driver had since made improvements to his home, including a new fence and gate, and a new front door to help stop the dogs escaping.

He was also accessing a private and secure field, at the cost of £10 per hour, to exercise his pets.

She said: "With the steps he has taken, the court can be satisfied that the dogs do not pose a danger to public safety."

Judge Simon Phillips QC gave Driver a six-month sentence, suspended for two years, 100 hours of unpaid, fined him £420, told him to pay £300 compensation to the woman, £1,000 to the young girl and £1,000 kennel fees to the police who have two of his dogs.

He was told the dogs would be returned to him, but they were given a conditional destruction order, meaning that if Driver sticks to certain conditions to ensure the safety of the public, the dogs would not be put down.