Dog that at­tacked boy is spared af­ter ap­peal

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Opinion -

A ROT­TWEILER that at­tacked a young boy has been re­prieved from a death sen­tence af­ter a suc­cess­ful ap­peal by the owner.

At a hear­ing in Septem­ber Folke­stone mag­is­trates had con­demned nine-year-old Meg­gie on the ba­sis she had bit­ten the six-year-old vic­tim on the head, as well as on his arm.

But a judge and two mag­is­trates de­cided at the ap­peal at Maid­stone Crown Court there was in­suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence to con­clude the head in­juries were caused by the dog’s teeth.

A ban on owner Philip Bif­fen keep­ing dogs for five years was also lifted, but a £1,000 fine, £1,000 com­pen­sa­tion to the vic­tim and £1,000 court costs re­mained.

The boy was bit­ten in a field near his home in Mer­sham on May 24 last year.

The dog’s owner, Philip Bif­fen, ad­mit­ted fail­ing to keep the pet un­der con­trol but dis­puted it bit the child’s head.

Bif­fen, of Tay­lor’s Close, St Mary’s Bay, failed to ap­pear be­fore mag­is­trates to give ev­i­dence on the mat­ter and only the prose­cu­tion case was heard. The vic­tim was play­ing with his older sis­ter when the dog ran up to them.

Bif­fen, who ran the Blue and White cafe, told them they could pat the dog on the head.

Ap­palling

The boy hid be­hind his sis­ter, as he was fright­ened by the dog, but it ran past her and took hold of his arm.

Bif­fen grabbed the dog and put it on a lead.

Pros­e­cu­tor Marie-Louise Cor­teen said the vic­tim told his fa­ther he was los­ing all his blood and was go­ing to die. The boy was sup­ported in his claim the dog bit him on the head by his sis­ter.

Miss Cor­teen told the court: “The de­fen­dant’s be­hav­iour through­out has been quite ap­palling.

“When ar­rested, he de­nied hav­ing any­thing to do with it and said it was not his dog.

“He has shown no con­cern for the well­be­ing of the chil­dren.

“We say he has been seek­ing to de­lay what we see as the in­evitable con­clu­sion that the dog will be de­stroyed.”

Philip Bif­fen

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