Thursday, 26 May 2022

Boy, 4, attacked by neighbour's lurcher while in the toilet

Horrifying pictures show the facial injuries a four-year-old suffered when he was attacked by a friend’s dog.

Leon Lawlor left the door ajar as he went to use the toilet at David Thorley’s house in Meir, Stoke-on-Trent.

He was left covered in blood and needed surgery after lurcher Duke savaged him on his mouth and eyelid, Stoke-on-Trent Live reports.

Dad-of-three Thorley, 30, intervened after hearing the ‘disturbance and distress’ around 7pm on August 1, 2020.

He had no reason to suspect Duke would attack and immediately re-homed him, Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard.

The ground maintenance worker was spared prison after admitting being the owner of a dog which caused injury while dangerously out of control. He was handed a six-month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months.

Duke, who had been in the family for five years, had been around Leon ‘several times before’, prosecutor Alexander Barnfield said.

He said: ‘The child’s mother disagrees with that and suggests the dog had always been shut away when the child was there.’

Steve Hennessy, mitigating, said: ‘He [Thorley] 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.’

Duke – who has had several different owners since being rehomed – was assessed by Staffordshire Police the day after the violent incident. They had no concerns about his behaviour.

Thorley was also given a five-day rehabilitation activity requirement. He must do 60 hours unpaid work and pay Leon £250 compensation.

Judge Graeme Smith told him: ‘Your culpability was to allow the child to be in a confined area with Duke without proper supervision.’

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