A woman who was looking after an XL Bully dog that ravaged a four-year-old boy in Liverpool has been sentenced.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said that the dog, “Nola”, had been staying with the defendant Stacy Smith, 32, in her home in Norris Green in Liverpool for around ten days.
Ms Smith had been looking after it for her boyfriend. On 13 August 2022, a four-year-old boy who lived nearby called at Stacy’s house to ask if he could play with Stacy’s son.
As the boy got to the front door, Nola started barking. Ms Smith went to the door, and Nola then pushed past her, into the front garden and attacked the boy.
Nola had the boy’s head and would not let go. His mother was standing a few yards behind him and started screaming. Ms Smith remained inside as the mother of the child desperately tried to get the dog off but was unable to.
Other neighbours heard the screaming and came out to see what was happening. Ms Mirislava Zaloudakova ran to the address and saw the child lying on his back, the dog had the child’s head in it’s mouth.
Ms Zaloudakova went into the front garden, put her hand on Nola’s neck and pulled, to try to release the boy from the dog’s grip. This didn’t work and the dog was still biting the boy. She then shouted “NO” to the dog, and felt the dog release her grip.
Another neighbour, Kieran Corran, was in his back garden when he heard his partner screaming his name. He ran out, and saw a number of people outside Ms Smith’s house. As he got closer, he saw the blood on the front path, and Nola, who was baring her teeth, lunging and barking aggressively and with blood on her teeth and neck.
He tried to enter the garden but the dog would not let him. He ran back home, got a golf club and again tried to get into the garden. The dog went for his hand, so he hit the dog with the golf club, He was able to get into the Garden, and with some assistance from other neighbours, they were able to clear a path to the child.
Ms Smith was then able to usher the dog into the back garden. He then picked the child up and described holding his face and head together, to try to keep the wounds in place. Mr Corran then got into his aunt’s car, and she drove them to Fazakerley hospital.
The child was transferred to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, due to the extent of his injuries. He had suffered a fracture to his head which caused a leak of the fluid on his brain. Surgeons repaired this by placing a muscle graft over the leak. He had multiple cuts to his face, head and neck. All the scarring will be permanent though should fade in time.
The child has since also suffered from headaches and flashbacks and has been given some psychological assistance. Nola was euthanised sometime after the incident.
Ms Smith was interviewed by police after the incident and was eventually charged with being in charge of a dog which was dangerously out of control and whilst out of control, caused injury to a child..
She pleaded guilty at Liverpool Magistrates’ Court on 16 May 2023 and was committed to the Crown Court for sentence.
Today (28 September 2023) at Liverpool Crown Court, she was given a nine-month jail term, suspended for 18 months. She must also do 60 hours of unpaid work and 20 days of a rehabilitation activity.
Senior Crown Prosecutor Michael Cain, of CPS Mersey Cheshire said, “XL Bully dogs are very much in the news at the moment. The government has announced that they intend to add XL bullies to the banned breed types listed under the Dangerous Dogs Act by the end of 2023.
“The dogs are large and muscular. The injuries this dog inflicted on this small child were horrific. The child was very lucky to survive.
“The Crown Prosecution Service said that Ms Stacey did not do enough to intervene or prevent the attack. The actions of her neighbours prevented things getting very much worse.”