In the Media

Man sentenced over dog attack on child

PUBLISHED February 13, 2012

Gary Hindley ordered to pay damages and dog to be destroyed after six-year-old had part of ear bitten off

A man whose dog bit off part of a six-year-old girl's ear in north-east London has been given a suspended 12-week prison sentence at Thames magistrates court.

Gary Hindley was disqualified from owning any animal for a period of 10 years and will also be electronically monitored, with the imposition of a curfew between 8pm and 7am for six weeks. District judge Robert Roscoe ordered that the dog, named Buddy, should be destroyed.

Hindley must also carry out 200 hours of unpaid work, to be completed in the next 12 months, and pay compensation totalling ?450 ? a sum the judge said he would regard as "very low compensation", adding that it would have been far more had he been in employment.

Before Hindley was sentenced, his solicitor, Ozlem Erbil Cetin, presented a letter he had written to the girl's parents, apologising for what happened.

Cetin said Hindley ? who initially gave an incorrect address to the victim's father and left the scene quickly after the attack ? was "very remorseful" and that he had kicked and punched the dog in an attempt to protect the child.

She added: "He says he was in as much of a shock as the parents."

Roscoe said that, while Hindley may have attempted to stop the dog mauling the girl, his efforts were not good enough. He described the attack as horrific and told Hindley: "I accept you may have done your best to intervene, but your best wasn't very good."

The judge said Hindley had not been doing his duty to his dog or others around him, and added that all pets must be properly controlled. He said: "Buddy was not well trained, not well looked after and not well supervised."

Temi Bakare, prosecuting, read from a statement from the child's mother, which said "the family as a whole" had been affected by the attack. She wrote: "I had to do everything I could to protect my little girl." The statement said there was a "large amount of hair torn from her head" and added that the dog did not have a lead or a collar.

The incident happened at Pole Hill, Chingford, in front of the girl's parents and her younger brother. Officers and paramedics arrived at the scene soon after the attack, and the victim was taken to hospital for surgery.

Her father said the first time the children saw the dog was when it "charged towards them". He explained that the family had been visiting Pole Hill so they could view the sights of London with the telescope they had given their daughter for Christmas.

The father said the dog attacked on multiple occasions, adding that it "at one point circled my daughter and my wife in what looked like a shark attack that you would see on TV. Our son, who is very close to his big sister, witnessed the entire incident".

He added: "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. The dog was not on a lead and there was no obvious sign of the owner at first."

The father said he and his wife ended up on the ground as they fought the dog, but that the animal ripped the majority of their daughter's right ear off.

, he added.Hindley is due to start a job as a driver, and said he would pay ?50 per month until he had paid the ?450 in full.

Following his sentencing, the CPS London borough crown prosecutor, Josephine Tang, said in a statement: "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.

"As the young victim continues her recovery following this incident, I hope today's sentencing offers some comfort to her and her family." © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds