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Judge spares dog from destruction

Monday August 19 2019




A YOUNG mum has escaped punishment after her dog bit a child who was left with serious injuries and permanent scarring.

Chanelle Rimmington, of George Street, Darfield, pleaded guilty to being the owner of a Staffordshire Bull Terrier which was dangerously out of control and injured a child.

The judge could have made a destruction order against the dog - but instead called the attack ‘an unfortunate one off’ when she apeared at Barnsley Magistrates’ Court.

The incident occurred in May last year, when the boy, who was injured and was under the age of ten, was said to have been in Rimmington’s house when her dog, Milo, attacked him.

However, solicitor Chris Peace said the dog was ‘provoked’ into attacking the boy who admitted he had pulled on Milo’s tail after going through two closed doors to see the dog who had been put outside.

“I have various letters off people who know Milo and can confirm Milo has never bitten anyone,” said Mr Peace.

“He has been around her children, friend’s children, relatives children and has behaved impeccably.

“He is a very lovely, careful little dog and he’s never shown signs of aggression.”

Mr Peace said that on the day the father of the boy had brought him round to the home of Rimmington and the two families were going away to Skegness for the weekend.

He said there was a ‘lot of excitement’ in both families ahead of the holiday and Rimmington’s husband and the father of the boy went to the butcher’s, leaving her with the boy.

Rimmington was said to have momentarily gone upstairs to pack some suitcases when the attack happened.

“The patio door and back door were closed but not locked,” said Mr Peace.

“Milo was in the garden - two closed doors away. Ms Rimmington went upstairs when she heard a scream. The boy was bleeding and coming in from the garden.”

Mr Peace added that the defendant had rushed to the child’s aid and rang her husband, as well as taking her dog to the vets.

“Milo was minutes from being put down. That was the action they (the Rimmington family) took,” said Mr Peace.

“My client is absolutely distraught about this.”

An impact statement from the boy’s father was read out in court which said: “The boy is almost unaffected but we had our weekend in hospital which was stressful.

“The family made out he was at fault. It took some time for them to ring to see if he was OK. I am torn as to whether the dog should be destroyed.”

Judge Joanne Hirst referred to the incident as ‘unforeseeable’ and said: “This was a significant injury to a small child and has left permanent scarring.

“It’s a lesson to all of us - dogs are unpredictable and children are unpredictable.

“Repeatedly, we see in the news the consequences of not taking dog responsibility. Dogs should never be left unsupervised.

“This could have been a lot more serious, a dog should never be left in the presence of a child as they are both very unpredictable creatures.”

The judge sentenced Rimmington to a conditional discharge after leaving to read through various statements, including one from the boy’s auntie who confirmed he admitted to pulling the dog’s tail.

Speaking to Rimmington, Ms Hirst said she had heard the dog is no longer left alone in the presence of children and is kept on a lead out on walks.

Ms Hirst said it was an unusual case which led to her passing what she described as an ‘unusual sentence’.

“I agree there isn’t much more you could have done at the time of the incident.”

Rimmington was ordered to pay £105 in costs and was given a conditional discharge of 12 months.

She was also ordered to keep Milo on a lead when out in public, muzzled when off the lead in public and to ensure he is not left alone around children under the age of 12.