Three-Year-Old Girl Savaged By Dutch Herder Guard Dog In Welsh Park
A toddler was brutally mauled by a Dutch Herder guard dog that was trained to follow commands in German. The 3-year-old girl was with her grandparents in a country park in Wales when she was attacked by the powerful animal.
A court was told how the Dutch herder dog had previously been trained in Germany for security and protection work. The dog's new owner, who doesn't speak German, was out in a park exercising the animal when it attacked the 3-year-old girl.
The herder sank its teeth into the little girl's neck and back, leaving her with large scars that will stay with her for many years to come. The dog, called Chief was adopted from a rescue centre just four days before the attack, and the new owner was warned that the animal was "not good" with children.
The young girl required surgery for her injuries and was kept at Cardiff's University Hospital of Wales for four days.
The girl's mother explained to the court that her daughter has been left with a fear of animals with claws and still suffers from flashbacks and nightmares.
The new owner of Chief, 33-year-old Daniel Barge was spared an immediate prison sentence after admitting to being in charge of a dog dangerously out of control in a public place.
Prosecutor Jeff Jones said: "The dog was trained in Germany and the new owner was told it could easily overstep the mark. He was told to keep it away from children's playgrounds and sandpits because it wasn't good with children.
"Barge was walking the dog through the park on a harness when it nudged the little girl off her feet. It gripped her back and neck and began shaking her for about 15 seconds while she was on the ground. Passers-by and the girl's grandfather all struggled to get the dog off her such was its grip."
Barge and other members of the public in the park shouted at the dog to get off the little girl, but the only English commands the animal understood were "heel" and "sit".
The court heard how the 10-year-old dog had come from the rescue centre in Llanelli, Barge and his mother Melanie Harries paid £150 for him.
Mr Jones added: "There was knowledge that this dog had a past - it had been trained to be aggressive and had been used in protection and as a security dog."
The horrific attack took place at the Barry Sidings Countryside Park in Pontypridd in August last year.
Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court was told how the terrifying incident had caused the dog's owner, Daniel Barge to have a mental breakdown and spend 10 weeks in a psychiatric hospital.
Peter Donnison, defending, said Barge was "deeply saddened and remorseful" and arranged for the dog to be immediately put down after the attack. Barge was handed a two-month suspended prison sentence and ordered to pay £500 in compensation to the girl for her injuries.
Judge Richard Twomlow said: "This was a terrifying incident for the little girl and for her grandparents who were with her. You had no reason to think that the dog would behave in this extreme way. But given the victim's age and her injuries, this does pass the custody threshold. There will be a prison sentence but it will be suspended."