Mum's horror after escaped dog dragged son, 5, 'around like toy'

A mum has told of her horror after her five-year-old son was 'dragged around like toy' by an escaped dog. Amy Briers' Shar Pei and Staffordshire bull terrier cross was said to have bitten two children before her pet went on to attack another three youngsters during two further incidents.

Two young boys even required surgery as a result of their horrific injuries. On Wednesday, a court heard the 33-year-old's dog Callie had "previously bitten two children", leading to her entering a "voluntary agreement" with Merseyside Police.

That was to ensure the dog was muzzled and on a lead in public and constantly supervised around children and strangers, reports Liverpool Echo. But, unbeknown to her, her 11-year-old autistic son took the family pet out for a walk at around 6.30pm on July 11 last year.

Callum Ross, prosecuting, described how the boy approached a group of other youngsters who were playing in the street and "asked if they wanted to stroke the dog" and said it "had only bitten one person". One of the children, an 11-year-old girl, "stood back" due to her fear of dogs, but Callie "ran up to her and bit her right forearm".

She was "scared and crying" as a result of the incident. Her father cleaned and dressed her wounds after she returned home, and she did not require further medical treatment.

Then, on the evening of September 21, "matters came to a head" when another two boys, aged five and six, were playing out. But, as the mum of the younger boy called him inside to eat his tea at around 7pm, she "heard a piercing scream".

She then found her son with "bites and puncture wounds deep into his arm". He later told her Callie had run from Briers' address on Hempstead Road in St Helens and bitten him before "dragging him around".

The boy required surgery to repair injuries to his abdomen and left forearm. He may require further cosmetic surgery in the future.

The second child's mum meanwhile recalled hearing "hysterical screams" and running outside to find her son in tears and with "blood dripping down his arm" and his friend being "dragged around like a toy". Briers, who had been at her neighbour's house at the time of the incident, attempted to intervene by kicking her dog.

The six-year-old was suffered serious injuries to his right arm and also required an operation. He was said to still have "had a chunk missing from his arm" months afterwards.

Briers told detectives under interview she "did not know anything" about the earlier incident and she did not allow her son to take the dog out on his own. In relation to the second attack, she said her son "must have forgotten to shut the door behind him" and allowed Callie to escape.

The mum-of-four also stated she had made previous unsuccessful attempts to rehome her pet, who has since been destroyed with her agreement, by posting on Facebook and contacting the Dog's Trust. Briers has no previous convictions.

Jamie Baxter, defending, told the court: "This is a devastating case for all involved - the victims of the attacks, their families and also this defendant and her family. There is no evidence of the dog having attacked two previous children, only one.

"After the incident, this defendant made genuine efforts to try and rehome Callie. As a result of her efforts proving to be fruitless, the two further incidents took place. She is a good person. She is a good mother, doing her best in challenging circumstances.

"She has three children aged five, 11 and 16. She is a single mother with a limited support network. The effect of one of her children with complex difficulties is that Callie escaped. On another occasion, he felt sorry for the dog and took it for a walk."

Mr Baxter added his client's incarceration would have a "profound impact on her children", who would likely have to be placed into foster care if she was locked up. He said: "The welfare of her children and the protection of the public can be achieved by a suspended sentence."

Briers, who also has a fourth child aged 18, admitted three counts of owning a dangerously out of control dog causing injury. She was handed a two-year imprisonment suspended for two years, 100 hours of unpaid work and a rehabilitation activity requirement of up to 10 days, as well as being banned from keeping dogs for life.

Sentencing, Judge Ian Harris said: "This animal had previously bitten either one or two children, and you entered an agreement with the police for it to be muzzled, on a lead and supervised around children and strangers. You had knowledge of the way the dog acted and reacted to children.

"You displayed a woeful and criminal lack of responsibility. It was your responsibility to ensure that the dog was safely kept. The injuries caused to the young children were a direct consequence of your reckless behaviour. You bear sole responsibility.

"The dog was obviously dangerous and violent. You knew the dog's behaviour, yet you failed to ensure the safety of members of the public - in this case three young, vulnerable and terrified children. You have three dependent young children. There is no one else to care for them.

"You are a single mother with no previous convictions. You have written to me expressing sorrow and remorse, and I accept these sentiments as genuine. You are concerned that, if you go into prison, your children will likely end up in the care of the local authority. In my judgement, the the effects of your imprisonment would be catastrophic."

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