Mother is jailed after dog attack

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Victim suffered significant psychological trauma

A MOTHER-of-six whose dogs savaged a little boy in a horror pack attack has been jailed for nine months

Burnley Crown Court heard how victim Sam Leverett suffered significant psychological trauma as well as terrible injuries in the attack on March 1st and may never fully recover.

Jacqueline Cox, whose then home in Burnley was torched weeks after the incident, wiped away tears in the dock as the judge told her those who kept packs of dogs had serious responsibilities which must not be neglected.

Recorder David Manley, who banned Cox from keeping dogs for 10 years, told her the only possible sentence was prison.

Cox (38), of Albion Street, Brierfield, had earlier admitted an aggravated offence of keeping dogs dangerously out of control. She had no previous convictions.

Mr Peter Horgan (prosecuting) said at the time the defendant lived with her family in Burnley. They had five dogs and a number of puppies.

On March 1st, the defendant was alone in the house and in charge of the animals. She should have exercised more care but they got out and were roaming around.

Mr Horgan said a man named Robert Ashworth was walking his dog on Whittlefield Recreation Ground and saw a pack of dogs wandering across the grass. They stopped and as he approached he was horrified to discover they were attacking the child, who was screaming for help.

The victim's clothes were being ripped from his body and he had a number of bleeding wounds. Mr Ashworth and two 13-year-old girls dashed to Sam's aid shouting to try and distract the pack and Mr Ashworth let his own dog off its lead. The trio continued to yell at the dogs until they ran off. Sam was immediately taken to Burnley General Hospital and then transferred to Booth Hall Children's Hospital in Manchester. He had suffered 27 puncture wounds and lacerations to his arm, legs, face, chest and stomach.

He later underwent three operations lasting a total of 10 hours and couldn't go to school or play with his friends for five weeks.

The prosecutor said when police went to Cox's home she was sitting on the settee with two snarling dogs. Mr Ashworth identified four animals as having taken part in the pack attack. The defendant told officers she believed the dogs had been in the house that day.

Mr Philip Holden (defending) said there was no getting away from the fact Sam's injuries were absolutely horrendous but he said on Cox's behalf the culpability as far as she was concerned lay in the fact she allowed the dogs to escape from her home. What happened afterwards could not have been contemplated.

Cox was shocked by what took place and the photographs of Sam's injuries had extremely upset her. She would have to live with what happened to the boy.

Mr Holden said proceedings over the attack had been started against Cox's son and daughter but the Crown did not continue the allegations.