A 45-year-old woman has been jailed for 10 months after her Doberman dog mauled a three-year-old girl in a “terrifying and traumatic” attack in Hampshire.
Lisa Garner pleaded guilty to being responsible for a dangerously out of control dog in connection with the attack in Havant which forced the victim to require hospital surgery.
The incident occurred on the street where the defendant lives on Botley Drive on August 8.
Martyn Booth, the prosecution, said the young victim was walking home from the shops with her grandmother and her partner when they struck up a conversation with the defendant and his dog named El Chapo.
She said the grandmother spoke to Garner about the defendant’s Facebook posts about dogs attacking other dogs and other people.
He said: ‘The girl moves from behind in front of them, she doesn’t make any particular abrupt movements, she doesn’t do anything that could in any way be suggested as taunting or annoying to the dog, but the dog just went for her.
“The dog grabbed her by the torso area and basically threw her to the ground.
“The dog was extremely powerful compared to the defendant and it goes without saying that he was extremely powerful compared to a three-year-old.
“Then he didn’t let go, he lunged at her around the stomach area.”
He said it took the efforts of several people including his grandmother, her partner and two bystanders to “punch, pinch and kick” the dog to get him to stop.
Mr Booth said: ‘The reality of the situation is that if they hadn’t been involved, without thinking of themselves the way they did, I can’t bear to think about what the consequences might have been in the end.’
He added: “It was clearly an extremely traumatic experience, undoubtedly terrifying and painful.”
The prosecutor said the girl was operated on for three wounds in her back, 4 cm, 3 cm and 1 cm long, and another 6 cm in her leg.
In a statement on the victim’s impact read in court, the girl’s mother said: “The aftermath has seriously affected her, mentally and physically.
“Now she screams in her sleep and wakes up screaming while having flashbacks and nightmares of the accident.
“Now he can’t walk down the street because he yells if he sees a dog, he can’t walk past a dog anymore.
“It is heartbreaking for her and the rest of the family to see her like this. I don’t know if my little girl will overcome this fear and the trauma that has affected her and her loved ones a lot ”.
The court was shown “heartbreaking” CCTV footage of the attack during which screams could be heard and which showed people attempting to fend off the dog.
Mr Booth said the dog was destroyed by police despite Garner refusing to give up her rights to the animal.
He said Garner had previous convictions for public disorder, driving on excess drugs and driving without proper caution and failing to report an accident.
He added that Garner had taken in El Chapo, who was previously a guard dog, as a rescue dog.
He had said in a police interview, “Even though the dog looks evil, it’s a big donut.”
Defense attorney Damian Hayes said Garner, whose daughter died 10 years ago, had been involved in dog rescue for 20 years and had owned six Dobermans during that time.
He said: “For her part, Miss Garner feels nothing but shame and regret for what happened.”
Sentencing Garner at Portsmouth Crown Court, Judge William Ashworth told her: ‘It was very serious and the dog posed a serious risk. Custody is the only appropriate punishment.
Thanking members of the public who spoke, he added: “It is a reminder in a difficult and challenging world, that members of the public can act with true courage and selflessness, and our court thanks them.”
In addition to the prison sentence, Garner was banned from owning dogs for 10 years.