A nine-year-old boy was dragged off his scooter and mauled by a dog during a frenzied attack in York.
The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was riding his scooter along the pavement when the powerfully built American Akita suddenly lunged at him and pulled him to the ground, York Crown Court heard.
CCTV footage of the terrifying attack in Acomb showed the Akita, which was on a short leash, sinking its teeth into the boy’s thigh.
Owner Robert Hawksby, 66, tried desperately to pull his dog away but the Akita, called Bella, refused to let go, said prosecutor Brooke Morrison.
He eventually managed to get the dog off the youngster – but then the Akita turned on him as he tried to pin her to the ground.
The boy suffered deep cuts to his thigh and was taken to hospital where doctors initially feared he would need a skin graft. In the event, his wounds were stitched and cleaned and he spent three nights in hospital.
Hawksby, a retired painter-and-decorator, was arrested and police seized the Akita, which they housed in kennels until the outcome of the court case.
He was charged with being in charge of a dog that was dangerously out of control which resulted in injury to a young boy. He admitted the offence and appeared for sentence yesterday (Tuesday).
Ms Morrison said that a few months before the incident at about 5.20pm on October 14, the Akita attacked a young girl who suffered a two-inch cut to her thigh and had her skirt torn.
The young boy, who had been playing with friends in the street, was attacked in the Chapelfields Road estate.
“(The boy) approached the dog and its owner on a scooter… and without warning, Bella has lunged at him and grabbed him by the left thigh, pulling him to the floor,” added Ms Morrison.
“Neighbours heard (the boy) screaming and ran to the scene, where they found (the victim) on the floor, with the dog still having hold of his thigh as (Hawksby) attempted to (pull the dog off him).
“He eventually managed to do so, but the dog remained aggressive and had to be pinned to the floor (by Hawksby) to prevent her from getting to (the boy).”
The video footage showed a visibly horrified neighbour appearing at the scene and being implored to call an ambulance and get the boy to safety by Hawksby.
The boy was left clutching his thigh in agony and had to have a week off school due to his injuries. However, with the help of painkillers he had made a full recovery.
‘Nasty and traumatic’
Ms Morrison said that the previous attack on the girl, on the same housing estate, occurred when the youngster was playing in her front garden.
To prevent further attacks, the pensioner had kept the dog on a short lead and erected a 6ft fence around his property, but the prosecution said he had ultimately “failed to respond to warnings about the dog’s behaviour”.
Ms Morrison said the “sustained” attack on the boy, which lasted about a minute, “could have been foreseen, given the breed of the dog and its inherent temperament”.
Tom Jackson, for Hawksby, said the pensioner, who had owned the dog for eight years, was remorseful and he too had been traumatised by the incident.
Judge Simon Hickey described the incident as “nasty (and) traumatic for a little boy who was simply out and about on his scooter”.
He told Hawksby: “You were very clearly horrified by what happened and tried to intervene (but) because the dog is such a powerful animal, you were able to do very little (initially) when the dog had its jaws on the little boy and is clearly cutting him with its powerful jaws.
“It was aggressive to you and may even have bitten you as well.”
Hawksby, of Barkston Avenue, York, was given an 18-month community order with 80 hours’ unpaid work and ordered to pay £400 to the boy to compensate him for his trauma.
Mr Hickey also made a contingent destruction order which means the dog will not be put down so long as Hawksby abides by three stringent new measures including that Bella must wear a ‘basket’ muzzle, a harness and a flat collar when out in public.
She must also be attached to a double-clip, short lead, for the protection of the public.