London

Chingford dog attack: Man sentenced after girl mauled

  • 13 February 2012
  • From the section London

A man whose dog bit off part of a six-year-old girl's ear in London has been given a suspended 12-week jail term.

Gary Hindley, 56, of Chingford, admitted allowing a dog to be dangerously out of control in a north-east London park.

Hindley pleaded guilty to a breach of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 at Thames Magistrates' Court.

The victim's father said the dog attacked several times, circling them in what he likened to a "shark attack".

The girl also sustained injuries to her neck and shoulder.

On the sentencing the father of the child told BBC London that the family felt "insulted and disappointed in the system".

He also said that if a human had carried out such an attack the sentence would have been much much harsher. He said he felt the sentence was not a deterrent at all.

'Horrific incident'

The girl's mother said in a statement read to the court that "the family as a whole have been affected" by the attack.

She added: "I had to do everything I could to protect my little girl."

Describing the attack the father said the dog "at one point, circled my daughter and my wife in what looked like a shark attack that you would see on TV".

"I hit the dog a number of times, trying to make it let go of my beautiful little girl and wife, but the dog continued to attack her, despite our best efforts to protect her."

Hindley's solicitor, Ozlem Erbil Cetin, read to the court a letter from Hindley to the girl's parents where he apologised for what happened.

He had initially given an incorrect address to the victim's father and left the scene quickly after the attack but was now "very remorseful", Ms Cetin said.

She said he had "kicked" and "punched" the dog in an attempt to protect the child.

"He says he was in as much of a shock as the parents," she added.

District Judge Robert Roscoe said that, while Hindley may have attempted to stop the dog mauling the girl, his efforts were not good enough and described the attack as a "horrific incident".

He told him: "I accept you may have done your best to intervene but your best wasn't very good."

'Low compensation'

The judge said Hindley was not doing his duty by his dog, called Buddy, or by others around him and added that all pets must be properly controlled.

"Buddy was not well-trained, not well-looked after and not well-supervised," he added.

He said: "I have no doubt that you will agree that the effect on the two parents will be long-lasting and again cause them continuous worry, and especially during outings they have previously enjoyed.

Image caption The girl was with her father in this Chingford park when she was attacked

"When all is said and done, the blame for what happened falls fairly and squarely on your shoulders."

Hindley's sentence was suspended for two years and he was also disqualified from owning any animal for a period of 10 years.

He will be electronically monitored, with the imposition of a curfew between 20:00 GMT and 07:00 GMT for six weeks.

District Judge Robert Roscoe also ordered him to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work, to be completed in the next 12 months.

The judge added that he had to pay compensation totalling £450 - a sum which he regarded as "very low compensation" - adding that it would have been "far more" if he was in work.

He also ordered that the dog should be destroyed.

London Borough crown prosecutor Josephine Tang said: "The terrible injuries suffered by the young victim in this case show how devastating the actions of a dangerous dog can be.

"As the owner of the dog, Gary Hindley should have been aware of the potential for aggression and he should have acted in a more responsible way."

She added that she hoped the sentencing would provide "some comfort" to the young victim and her family.

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