Boy, 4, savaged by dog while he went to the toilet as owner fined over horrific mauling

A LITTLE boy suffered horrific facial injuries when he was savaged by a dog as he went to use the toilet at a friend's house.

Leon Lawlor, four, lost part of his lip when he was attacked by lurcher Duke at owner David Thorley's home in Stoke-on-Trent.

Thorley, 30, has now been spared a prison sentence after admitting being the owner of a dog which caused injury while dangerously out of control.

A court has ordered him to pay Leon just £250 in compensation.

The schoolboy had been playing in a paddling pool with his friend on August 1, 2020 when he was bitten going inside to use the bathroom.

Prosecutor Alexander Barnfield told a crown court the youngster suffered "significant" facial injuries, the Stoke Sentinel reports.

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"The child was shown the downstairs toilet in the utility room. The door was pushed ajar," he said.

"The child was in the utility room and getting ready to use the toilet when the dog attacked him and bit his face.

"Thorley heard the disturbance and distress and intervened and took the child to his parents' house immediately."

Surgeons stitched Leon's right eyelid and mouth after the bite.

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Cops assessed the dog the next day – but the officer had "no concerns" about the animal's behaviour, and Duke has had several owners since.

Thorley, now of Blurton, said the dog had never behaved aggressively before and he had no reason to suspect anything would happen.

Steve Hennessy, mitigating, said the defendant, as father-of-three, felt "regret and remorse".

Thorley's fourth child is due in August, it was heard.

Mr Hennessy said: "He has always accepted the dog has caused the injury.


"He was immediately remorseful to the parents of the child and the dog was immediately removed from the area so they did not have to see it again."

As part of his sentence, the defendant must carry out a five-day rehabilitation activity requirement and 60 hours of unpaid work.

Stoke Crown Court Judge Graeme Smith said: "The four-year-old son of a neighbour was attacked by your dog Duke. He did suffer significant and serious injury. He required treatment in hospital.

"It is clear that this was very much out of character for Duke.

"There is no suggestion of any previous incidents and when assessed by the police there was no particular cause for concern.

I'm angry and shocked… we want to have the dog put down, it could do this to another child

"Your culpability was to allow the child to be in a confined area with Duke without proper supervision."

But Leon's furious mother Chloe said she was left "heartbroken" by the attack.

"I was angry and shocked," she said in an interview at the time.

"The police asked us what we wanted to do about the dog and whether we wanted to prosecute the owners or put the dog down.

"We said we want to prosecute and have the dog put down because of the injuries inflicted on my son.

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“I saw the dog the next day on my estate walking down the road and I was not happy.

"The police should have done way more. If it could do that to Leon it could do it to another child."

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