Toddler left scarred after Border Collie bit his face when he tried to stroke it

Paul Spence pleaded guilty to being in charge of a dog dangerously out of control
Paul Spence pleaded guilty to being in charge of a dog dangerously out of control (Picture: Stuart Boulton)
A toddler has been ‘scarred for life’ after a Border Collie bit his face as he tried to stroke it. The boy was walking with his mum in Yarm, North Yorkshire, when the dog attacked on April 22. Paul Spence, who was walking the black and white dog named Diego, has now been fined after admitting being in charge of a dog dangerously out of control. The 66-year-old appeared at Teesside Magistrates’ Court after pleading guilty to the single charge at a previous hearing.
Gurjot Kaur, prosecuting, said Spence was walking two Border Collies at the time of the incident, one called Tommy and the other called Diego. Spence was not the owner of Diego, the court was told. But as Spence and the toddler’s mum began chatting in Morley Carr park, Diego bit the face of the child. Ms Kaur said the attack resulted in the boy suffering ‘permanent scarring’ and he had to have surgery on his lip. Spence, from Yarm, had no previous convictions and was described as a man of ‘positive good character’.

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Grace King, defending, said the incident was a ‘tragic accident’ and that Spence would ‘bear the brunt’ of the attack ‘for the rest of his life’. She said Diego had ‘never behaved in such a manner before or since’ and that there was evidence that his owner was ‘responsible’. District Judge, Timothy Capstick said Spence was a man of ‘positive good character’ who ‘bitterly regrets what happened’.

He said he had ‘expressed genuine remorse’.

However, the judge added that the incident was ‘life changing’ for the child, who was ‘left with permanent scarring for the rest of his life’.

Spence was fined £500 and must pay £500 compensation as well as £135 court costs.

The court was told that Diego was assessed and was not considered to be a danger to the public.

A contingent destruction order was made, meaning Diego must be muzzled and on a lead in public, he cannot be walked by anyone under the age of 18 and he must be secured in his home if a child is present.

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