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“Terrifying” dog attack left toddler with permanent scarring

28 Oct 2020

A Peterborough woman has been sentenced after her dog attacked a toddler and a man who came rushing to the child’s aid.

Ceri Kennedy, 40, of Brancepeth Place, Peterborough, owned a 16-month old Tibetan Mastiff dog called Bao who escaped from her house on 5 May.

The dog went on to attack a toddler and repeatedly bit the child’s head and face while standing over them. A passerby who tried to intervene was also injured, suffering two bite wounds and scratches to his back.

The toddler was rushed to hospital with various bite wounds on their right cheek, the corner of their right eye socket and forehead. Because of the amount of blood involved, paramedics initially feared the child may lose an eye.

Instead the toddler was left with permanent scarring and had to have facial reconstruction surgery.

The subsequent police investigation identified Kennedy as the dog’s owner.

In police interview Kennedy admitted Bao the dog was hers and took all liability for what she described as a “nightmare”.

She told officers it was an accident and she had failed to shut her door properly which had allowed the dog to escape and run down the street out of sight.

Kennedy said she “felt terrible” for the toddler and the man who helped, and said she hoped they made a full recovery from their injuries.

She was later served a postal requisition, charging her with two counts of owning a dog dangerously out of control causing injury.

Kennedy admitted both charges at Peterborough Magistrates’ Court on 5 October and her case was commited to crown court for sentencing.

She was sentenced at Peterborough Crown Court yesterday (27 October) where Judge Sean Enright handed her an 18-month conditional discharge. This means Kennedy will not be sentenced for the offence unless a further crime is committed in this time.

The man who intervened in the attack was commended and handed £500 for his actions which prevented the youngster from being even more seriously injured. The dog involved in the attack has been destroyed.

"I have no doubt the man saved the child's life"

PC Oliver Gregory, who investigated, said: “This was, understandably, a terrifying experience for the toddler and their family, as well as the man who intervened and tried his best to help. I have no doubt he saved the child’s life and praise him for his bravery.

“All dogs, big or small, can be dangerous if they are not properly trained and under control. It is the owner’s responsibility to ensure their dog remains under control at all times, including when at home.

“I hope this shows we take incidents of dangerous and uncontrolled dogs very seriously and will do all we can to protect the public.”

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