Father jailed after 'ferocious' dog mauls his 12 day old son to death

A father has been jailed after his dangerous dog mauled his 12-day-old son to death.

Elon Jase Ellis-Joynes was killed by a Chow Chow-Alsatian cross called Teddy at his home in Welfare Road, Doncaster, in September 2020.

His father Stephen Joynes, 36, was jailed for four years at Sheffield Crown Court today, after he pleaded guilty to one count of being the owner of a dangerously out of control dog which caused the death of a person.

The baby’s mother Abigail Ellis was charged with the same offence, but found not guilty as no evidence was offered by the prosecution.

Stephen Joynes and Abigail Ellis at a previous court hearing

The court heard the baby had been left alone on the sofa, while his mother went to the toilet and his father was playing in the garden with his siblings and the dog.

One of the children went into the house to look for the dog and found he had attacked his baby brother.

Ms Ellis phoned 999 and the baby was taken to Doncaster Royal Infirmary for emergency treatment, but pronounced dead at 4.12pm. Neighbours heard Ms Ellis’ mother shout “I told him to get rid of that dog” and “I warned him about that dog” before the child was taken away in the ambulance.

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A post-mortem examination found the baby had suffered severe trauma to the chest and abdomen, after being repeatedly bitten. There were 30 to 40 puncture wounds and lacerations to the torso and abdomen.

Richard Thyme, prosecuting, said Joynes knew the dog was out of control and it “posed a risk to children”.

It had bitten his step son’s leg five months before the fatal attack, but Ms Ellis told the GP he had been bitten by a stray dog.

The next-door neighbours said they felt intimidated by Teddy and they had increased the height of their fence to six feet, to stop him from jumping over. They had also seen Joynes kick and shout at the dog on numerous occasions.

Mr Thyme said the dog had become “excited” when it first saw the baby, so Joynes had “banished” him to the garden and instead of socialising him with the child.

The dog, which has been put down, was bought by Joynes ex-partner in January 2019 as a present for their daughter, but he then took him in because they could not cope.

'Here is a man who has suffered the greatest loss of all at his own hand'

Edward Moss, defending, said Joynes “holds himself entirely responsible for what happened”, he is now suffering with post traumatic stress disorder.

“There are no words that can ever express how he wishes he could go back and change the tragic events of that day,” he said.

“Here is a man who has suffered the greatest loss of all at his own hands.”

He asked the judge to refrain from imposing an immediate prison sentence and allow Joynes to stay with his partner so they can get their children back, after temporarily losing custody, and “try their very best to put this behind them”.

Judge Jeremy Richardson, recorder of Sheffield, said the dog was “utterly out of control” and Joynes “knew the dog was unmanageable and had vicious characteristics”.

He said: “All you did was hit or kick the dog and put it outside. You were warned about its nature.

“You took no effective steps to protect any of the children, least of all your 12-day-old infant son from this dangerous dog."

He added: “What eventuated was a tragedy waiting to happen. It was inevitable that sooner or later, the dog would attack a child in a very serious way.

“The tiny baby must have been terrified in the final moments of his life, being brutally attacked by a ferocious dog that eventually killed him. You allowed this to happen.”

Joynes, who has no previous convictions, has also been disqualified from keeping a dog for 15 years.