In the Media

Rottweiler owner jailed for one year

PUBLISHED January 13, 2012

Derek Adam sentenced to prison after two dogs in his care escaped from a garden and mauled a 10-year-old girl

A man convicted of owning two Rottweilers which mauled and severely injured a 10-year-old girl, leaving her permanently scarred, was jailed for a year and banned from keeping dogs for life on Friday.

Derek Adam, 39, was found guilty last month by a jury in Dundee of being the owner of the animals, named Fat Boy and Pretty Girl, which escaped from the garden of his ex-partner's home in the town and knocked the child from her bicyle.

However, Sheriff Richard Davidson said on Friday the case highlighted that the current law in Scotland over keeping dangerous dogs was inadequate, as Adam's dogs had already attacked a man five months before the August 2010 incident.

"This was an accident waiting to happen because of your neglect. These dogs were wreaking havoc but you demonstrated a couldn't-care-less attitude," he told Adam during sentencing.

"You demonstrated a complete disregard not just for law but for your neighbours and other local residents."

Adam had also been found guilty of failing to comply with an earlier order instructing him to keep the dogs under control after they injured a man by biting him in September 2009.

Sheriff Davidson said: "This was a spectacular demonstration of the failure of this legislation."

Adam had tried to claim his former partner, Sarah Kerr, 34, had been in charge of the dogs when they attacked the child. The jury acquitted Kerr on a verdict of not proven.

The victim, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, suffered extensive injuries, including a broken jaw and an 8cm "gaping" wound to her thigh. Doctors found bite marks on her arms, ears, face and neck, while a chunk of her left ear was also hanging off.

She was rescued from the dogs by Irene Grady, 57, who witnessed the attack from her living room window and suffered a broken ankle and three broken ribs when she rushed to the child's aid.

Sheriff Davidson said: "It is to her [Grady's] eternal credit that she remained at least outwardly calm. She deserves commendation for her cool head in what must have been very trying circumstances."

The child's grandfather, who cannot be named to protect her identity, welcomed the sentence, adding: "We would rather he had got the maximum of two years in jail but we're happy that he has been sent to prison and banned from owning dogs."

The child, now 11, returned to school within a month but still requires regular medical appointments and will have to undergo plastic surgery.

Her mother admitted she feared her daughter had been killed in the attack as it reminded her of the death of Kellie Lynch, also from Dundee, who was 11 when she was killed by a Rottweiler while on holiday in Dunoon, Argyll in 1989.

She said: "I don't know if I would have dealt with things as well as [my daughter] has if it had happened to me.

"I think there was the odd time when she's said 'why did it happen to me?' but really she didn't seem to dwell on it too long. She wouldn't normally be like this but she just seemed to pick herself up and say 'right let's get going again'." © 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