Kevin Griffiths has been jailed for 20 months after his out-of-control XL Bully Reggie bit his partner at home, leaving her in need of plastic surgery and permanently scarred
The owner of an out-of-control XL Bully has been jailed after allowing the dog to attack his partner and rip chunks of skin and flesh from her face.
Following the attack, the woman had to undergo plastic surgery to graft skin from her back into her cheek and has been left permanently scarred, Swansea Court Heard. The court was told that the dog, named Reggie, had bitten the woman just weeks before, and police had advised owner Kevin Griffiths to take the dog to a vet to have it put down.
However, the court heard Griffiths kept the large animal shut in the bathroom of his flat. Sending Griffiths to prison, the judge told him that dog owners have a duty to ensure their animals are under proper control and are safe.
He said the defendant had “been in charge of what was, effectively, a dangerous weapon” when he allowed it to attack the woman. The judge ordered the dog to be destroyed, reports Wales Online.
Caitlyn Brazel, prosecuting, said on the evening of May 10 this year Griffiths was at home with his partner when he said he was going to take his dog for a walk. She said the defendant’s partner was frightened of the animal as the dog had bitten her the previous month and so she retreated to the bedroom for safety.
Following that earlier incident, Griffiths had rung the police asking them to take the dog away but they said given the minor nature of the incident they could not seize the dog and they advised the defendant to contact a vet who would deal with it. The court heard Griffiths retrieved the dog from the bathroom where the animal was kept and then proceeded to bang on the bedroom door wanting to be let in saying the dog was “all right”.
The prosecutor said Griffiths kept banging on and pushing the bedroom door which served to “wind up” the dog and in the words of the partner the animal was going “berserk” in the hallway. Griffiths eventually managed to push the bedroom door open and the dog initially appeared calm but then it suddenly leapt up at the woman and sank its teeth into her face. Griffiths tried to get the animal to loosen its grip and Reggie then started biting the woman’s arms.
The court heard the 44-year-old defendant was eventually able to get the dog back into the bathroom and the woman grabbed a tea towel which she held to the wound on her face as she ran from the flat. The police were called and they found the victim crying in the car park outside the property.
The court heard the woman was taken to Morriston Hospital in Swansea by her father and then had to undergo plastic surgery to remove skin from her back and graft it onto her face. The woman faces the likelihood of further surgery in the future and has been told that the scar on her face will be permanent.
In an impact statement that was read to the court, the victim said she had been left too scared to leave the house in case she came across another dog and she said she was suffering from depression, mood swings, and flashbacks and was seeking counselling. She added: “I am not coping well.”
Griffiths, of Frondeg Terrace, Llanelli, had previously pleaded guilty to being the owner of a dog dangerously out of control which caused injury when he appeared in the dock for sentencing. He has one previous conviction for a motoring matter.
The Mirror is calling for:
■ 1 The overhaul of the Dangerous Dogs Act. An urgent review of the law is needed and tougher penalties should be considered.
■ 2 Enforce the rules to stop the illegal and irresponsible breeding and selling of dogs.
■ 3 A public information campaign to promote the importance of responsible dog ownership and the need for training.
Matt Murphy, for Griffiths, said though the breed of dog in question had been heavily featured in the press in recent times and had come to the attention of national politicians that was not the case at the time of the incident. He said the dog had been gifted to the defendant as a pet and was not a “trophy” or “weaponised” animal. The advocate said Griffiths “is not a man without his own difficulties” and he said the fact was the defendant was simply not able to control the dog properly.
Recorder Mark Powell KC said said people who own dogs have a duty to take proper care of them and to ensure they are safe. He said it was often said that “there is no such thing as a bad dog, just a bad owner” and he said in this case Griffiths had no business keeping a large animal like the XL bully cooped up in a bathroom. The judge told the defendant he knew full well that he could not control Reggie and knew the dog had previously bitten his partner and he said: “You were in charge of what was, effectively, a dangerous weapon.”
Recorder Powell added that the dog proceeded to “bite chunks” out Griffiths’ partner’s face leaving her with a permanent scar and that was something the defendant would always have on his conscience. With a one-third discount for his guilty plea, Griffiths was sentenced to 20 months in prison. The defendant will serve up to half that sentence in custody before being released on licence to serve the remainder in the community.
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