Lurcher pounces and bites boy’s face in savage attack as he headed to toilet

A dog pounced on a boy and bit his face in a savage attack while he was going to the toilet.

Four-year-old Leon Lawlor was left covered in blood and in need of surgery to treat the injuries he sustained in the horrific attack on August 1, 2020.

Leon was playing in the garden of his neighbour David Thorley in Meir, Staffordshire, when he asked to use the downstairs toilet.

As the boy was going to the bathroom, Thorley's lurcher Duke launched an unprovoked attack on the boy, Stoke-on-Trent Live reports.

Now 30-year-old Thorley has been handed a six-month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months and must pay Leon £250 compensation, after he admitted being the owner of a dog which caused injury while dangerously out of control.

Prosecutor Alexander Barnfield said: "The child was shown the downstairs toilet in the utility room. The utility room door was pushed ajar.

“The defendant's lurcher, Duke, which Thorley had owned for five years, had been around the child several times before.

“The child's mother disagrees with that and suggests the dog had always been shut away when the child was there.

"The child was in the utility room and getting ready to use the toilet when the dog attacked him and bit his face.

“Thorley heard the disturbance and distress and intervened and took the child to his parents' house immediately."

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Leon suffered “significant” facial injuries to his eye and mouth, and was taken to hospital to have stitches.

Staffordshire Police assessed the dog the next day and the officer had no concerns about the animal's behaviour.

Thorley, who works as a ground maintenance worker, has since given Duke up and his current whereabouts are not known.

In his police interview, the dad-of-three said Duke had never been a problem before and he had no reason to suspect that anything would happen.

He added he immediately took steps to move him out of the area.

Steve Hennessy, mitigating, said the defendant has expressed appropriate levels of regret and remorse.

Mr Hennessy said: "He has always accepted the dog has caused the injury. He was immediately remorseful to the parents of the child and the dog was immediately removed from the area, so they did not have to see it again."

The suspended sentence includes a five-day rehabilitation activity requirement and 60 hours unpaid work.

Judge Graeme Smith said: "The four-year-old son of a neighbour was attacked by your dog Duke. He did suffer significant and serious injury. He required treatment in hospital.

"It is clear that this was very much out of character for Duke. There is no suggestion of any previous incidents and when assessed by the police there was no particular cause for concern.

"Your culpability was to allow the child to be in a confined area with Duke without proper supervision."

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