A JUDGE who almost jailed a 51-year-old grandmother has issued a warning to the owners of potentially dangerous dogs following an attack on young girl in Halifax.
The two-year-old girl had been walking with a doll’s pushchair on Kingston Road in August when Staffordshire Bull Terrier Buddy jumped over a 4ft wall.
Diane Neil told the child’s mother that the dog would not hurt her, but Bradford Crown Court heard the animal suddenly locked its jaws onto the girl’s thigh.
It was only when Neil’s husband James arrived on the scene that it was forced to release its grip and was taken back into their home.
The court heard that earlier this year Buddy had attacked another dog and the couple had been warned to keep the animal tethered whenever it was in their yard.
Following the attack on the girl in August the dog had been signed over to the police and Neil’s barrister, Ben Smith, said he understood that the animal had now been destroyed.
Care assistant Neil, of Kingston Road, had admitted a charge of allowing a dangerous dog to be out of control when she appeared before magistrates in Halifax and they committed her case to the crown court for sentence.
The court heard the girl had to undergo emergency treatment and may have suffered nerve damage.
Recorder Jeremy Barnett told Neil that he was able to draw back from imposing an immediate prison sentence, but he stressed that she had come within an inch of jail.
“The message has got to go out to all people who insist on keeping dangerous dogs like this in their homes and yards that they will be held responsible when something awful like this happens,” said Recorder Barnett.
Neil’s 12-month jail sentence was suspended for a year and she will also have to do 100 hours of unpaid work. The judge also banned her from having custody of any dog for the next five years.