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Dog owner jailed after Staffordshire bull terrier attacked boy, 11, leaving him disfigured for life

Andy Wells
·Freelance Writer
·3 min read
Benjamine Swindells allowing his Staffy to attack an 11-year-old boy in a park, (SWNS)
Benjamine Swindells allowing his Staffy to attack an 11-year-old boy in a park. (SWNS)

A dog owner has been jailed after he allowed his Staffordshire bull terrier to attack an 11-year-old boy in a park, leaving him permanently disfigured.

Benjamine Swindells, 26, was walking with his pet, which was off the lead, in February last year when the harrowing incident occurred.

The victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was playing football when he noticed the animal running towards him, Leeds Crown Court heard.

According to a report of the incident, the youngster thought the animal only wanted the ball, but it instead leapt up and bit the the boy on the side of the head.

After a struggle the boy managed to pull free and tried to run away but the dog chased him down again, jumped up and locked his jaws onto his forearm, dragging him to the floor.

Swindells, an unemployed ex-serviceman, failed to call his dog as the attack was happening in an attempt to bring the ordeal to an end, the court heard.

The dog that attacked the boy was a Staffordshire bull terrier, similar to the one pictured. (Getty/stock photo)
The dog that attacked the boy was a Staffordshire bull terrier, similar to the one pictured. (Getty/stock photo)

Prosecutor Jade Edwards said Swindells had slowly walked towards the scene, as opposed to rushing over to help – something that Swindells rejected.

He eventually dragged the dog away and put it on a lead before walking away, the court heard.

The boy's mother arrived on the scene, in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, moments later and saw her son covered in blood and screaming on his knees.

She said she asked Swindells if he was going to stay but he reportedly shrugged his shoulders and carried on walking.

The boy was taken to hospital for surgery, where doctors told him he would be permanently scarred and may need further surgery later in life.

In a victim impact statement, the victim's mum said it was "unforgivable" to see Swindells walking away and that her son now struggles sleep and is anxious about going out.

She added the incident was "totally preventable".

Swindells, who has three previous convictions, admitted a charge of having a dog that was dangerously out of control.

Benjamine Swindells was jailed for 19 months at Leeds Crown Court. (Wikipedia)
Benjamine Swindells was jailed for 19 months at Leeds Crown Court. (Wikipedia)

Mitigating, Jessica Butterell, said Swindells had had the dog from being a puppy and had never been concerned about any aggressive behaviour from the animal before.

Butterell added: "He is under no illusion of the seriousness of the offences. He is genuinely remorseful.

"He could have dealt with it better. He is regretful for that."

Presiding judge, recorder Michael Fanning said: "I can't accept the remorse you claim to have, but I do accept you have real regrets over the lack of control of the dog.

"You made no effort to run after the dog. You did not try to pull the dog away."

Swindells, from Wakefield, was jailed for 19 months and banned from keeping dogs for five years.

The Staffordshire bull terrier was ordered to be put down.

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