Mother and son jailed after 'savage attack' by XL bully on boy, 8,

Amanda and Lewis Young
Amanda and Lewis Young -Credit:Merseyside Police/PA Wire

A mother and son have been jailed after an eight-year-old boy was seriously injured in a "savage and sustained attack" by an XL bully dog. The victim, who cannot be identified, suffered extensive injuries to his scalp, face and hands in the attack in the communal area of a block of flats in Wadham Road, Bootle, Merseyside, on February 10, Liverpool Crown Court heard on Monday.

Amanda Young, 49, was jailed for 20 months after admitting being the person in charge of a dog which caused injury while dangerously out of control in a public place, and her son Lewis Young, 30, was given a two-year prison sentence after he pleaded guilty to being the owner.

Sentencing, Honorary Recorder of Liverpool Judge Andrew Menary said: "The circumstances of the attack are truly awful. The nature of the injuries caused to the young victim, then eight years old, were catastrophic and on any view life-changing. The events of that day will no doubt haunt the memories of everyone who witnessed the savage and sustained attack by the dog you had decided to keep as a pet."

Charlotte Kenny, prosecuting, said the victim had been at the flats to play with a friend when the attack happened. The court heard the dog was "unrestrained" and "uncontrolled" when it started to attack the boy, having been allowed to wander freely around the communal parts of the block by Amanda Young.

Ms Kenny said neighbours attempted to pull the dog from the boy. One man, Anthony Atkinson, who grabbed the dog by its neck to try to stop the attack, described seeing it latched on to the boy's shoulder and neck area, the court heard.

Other witnesses said the dog was "frothing at the mouth" and shaking the boy's head, the court heard. The court heard Amanda Young was in charge of the dog while her son, a delivery driver, was at work.

She later told police she had had three or four gins, which may have been double measures, that afternoon. The court heard the dog was categorised as having substantial features of an XL bully-type dog.

Restrictions came into force at the end of last year requiring the dogs to be kept on a lead and muzzled in public and from February 1, it has been a criminal offence to own an XL bully in England and Wales without a certificate. Lewis Young told police he had owned a cloth muzzle, but the dog had chewed through it, so it could not be used.

He said he was "not sure" if the animal was an XL bully and had been planning to have it tested. In interview, he told officers his mother used cocaine and was probably under the influence at the time of the attack.

He said he had owned the dog, called Snoop, for two or three months after seeing him advertised on Facebook. The court heard the victim was taken to Alder Hey Children's Hospital and underwent surgery to try to reattach his scalp but it was unsuccessful. He also had a fracture to his skull consistent with the dog's tooth penetrating his scalp, Ms Kenny said.

Judge Menary said: "This little boy has had multiple surgeries to graft skin to his head. He will be left, on any view, with extensive facial and scalp scarring and profound psychological scarring. The injuries are just dreadful."

In a statement, the victim's mother, who was in court with relatives, said her son had to stay in hospital for more than two months and had not yet returned to school.

She said: "He is petrified when he sees a dog and will physically grab his dad's or my hand."

Daniel Travers, defending Lewis Young, said he was "devastated" about the attack.

He added: "He will forever regret what happened and he knows he and his mother were completely to blame for what happened."
Martine Snowdon, defending Amanda Young, said she had mental health difficulties and had volunteered at a community centre.

She said she had "genuine and profound remorse". Both were disqualified from owning a dog until further order.