Dog owner jailed after Staffordshire bull terrier savaged 11-year-old boy and left him permanently disfigured

A dog owner has been jailed after he allowed his pet to attack a young boy in a play park and left him disfigured him for life.

Thursday, 8th April 2021, 6:00 am

Benjamine Swindells failed to call his Staffordshire Bull Terrier off the 11-year-old as he attacked him twice in a matter of seconds, leaving him covered in blood and requiring surgery.

Leeds Crown Court heard the youngster had been in a park in Wakefield kicking a ball around at 4.30pm on February 4 last year.

Jade Edwards, prosecuting, said the boy noticed the terrier running towards him, thinking he wanted the ball, but the dog leapt up and bit him to the side of his head.

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Benjamine Swindells was jailed for 19 months after his pet dog savaged an 11-year-old boy.

As he fell to the floor he tried to push the dog away and he eventually let go.

The boy then tried to run away but the dog chased him down again, jumped up and locked his jaws onto his forearm, dragging him to the floor.

Ms Edwards said Swindells did not rushing over to the boy and simply walked slowly towards him.

The defendant dragged the dog away to put it on a lead.

When the boy's mother arrived she could hear her son screaming, then saw him on his knees and covered in blood.

She asked Swindells if he was going to stay at the scene.

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The boy was taken to hospital where he required surgery, but was told he would be permanently scarred and may need further surgery later in life.

His mother read a victim impact statement to the court.

She described how Swindells' behaviour by walking away from the scene was "unforgivable".

The mum said her son was now struggling to sleep and anxious about going out.

She added that the incident was "totally preventable".

Swindells, who has three previous convictions, admitted a charge of having a dog that was dangerously out of control.

Jessica Butterell, mitigating, said Swindells had the dog from being a puppy and had never been concerned about any aggressive behaviour from the animal before.

She said the former soldier was discharged because he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and was currently unemployed.

He also suffers from bipolar disorder and split personality disorder.

"He could have dealt with it better. He is regretful for that. "

Sentincing, Recorder Michael Fanning said: "I can't accept the remorse you claim to have, but I do accept you have real regrets over the lack of control of the dog.

"You made no effort to run after the dog. You did not try to pull the dog away."

Swindells, of Muirfield Drive, Wakefield, was jailed for 19 months and banned from keeping dogs for five years.

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier was also ordered to be put down.