A MAN who deliberately set his dog on a seven-year-old child was today starting a 12-month jail sentence.
A court heard how the little girl was knocked backwards by the mongrel banging her head when she landed and was then bitten at least once on the face leaving her scarred.
Darren Dickinson, who was drunk, had opened the front door of his home while the girl and her 13-year-old sister were waiting there and told his dog, “get them Frank” and it lunged at the younger child, said Henry Riding, prosecuting.
Judge Alan Conrad, QC told 38-year-old Dickinson that the dog caused wounds beneath the girl’s right eye and on her left cheek and more superficial facial injuries.
“It is plain you immediately regretted what you had done and tried to pull the dog away. This vulnerable child was left traumatised, in fear of dogs and off school for two weeks. Only immediate custody can be justified.”
Liverpool Crown Court heard that about teatime on January 6 this year the two girls called at Dickinson’s home in Brambell Grove, Worsley Hall, Wigan. The older girl spoke to Dickinson’s son who asked her to wait and then went upstairs closing the door behind him and was seen at an upstairs window.
“The front door then opened again and the defendant appeared and effectively set the mongrel on the girls, saying ‘get them Frank’. It jumped up at the victim, causing her to fall backwards and bang her head on the ground or wall and the dog bit her on the face at least once.”
Dickinson ran out shouting “oh shit” and pulled the dog off her and returned with it into the house. A neighbour saw the distressed child and told her mother who then called the police and the child was taken to hospital where she had stitches put n her wounds.
She was detained in hospital and after being released had to return a week later to have some of the stitches removed under sedation.
When arrested and interviewed Dickinson said he had drunk six cans of lager but denied being drunk or opening the door and setting the dog on the child. However CCTV footage from a neighbouring property showed that his son had gone upstairs and an adult then opened the door.
Dickinson, who has previous convictions, including battery, pleaded guilty to wounding.
Edmund Haygarth, defending, said that Dickinson, a warehouse man, had started drinking too much after losing his job and had again been drunk on this occasion. The incident was “a moment of complete stupidity.”
“Having done the serious thing he did he came to his senses very quickly and uttered his regret and did what he could to make sure the injuries were not more serious.”
Judge Conrad expressed concern about the welfare of the dog, which has been in police custody since the incident, and told the prosecution to inform the Chief Constable that “the dog should not be put down unnecessarily.”
He pointed out it was not classed as a dangerous breed and said he hoped the dog could be re-homed.