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Toddler left needing surgery after dog attack in Wales

A three-year-old girl was brutally mauled by a guard dog who only understands German commands, a court has heard.

The toddler was enjoying a stroll when the dangerous Dutch herder pounced at her in front of her horrified grandparents at the Barry Sidings Countryside Park in Pontypridd, Wales.

She was attacked so badly that she was left needing surgery under general anaesthetic at Cardiff’s University Hospital of Wales in August last year.

Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court heard that the owner Daniel Barge, 33, had adopted the dog named Chief from a rescue centre just four days earlier and doesn’t understand German.

The dog, which was similar to an Alsatian, was trained for protection and security work and came with a warning that it was “not good” with kids.

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Police at Barry Sidings Countryside Park
Police at Barry Sidings Countryside Park

Chief sank its teeth into the girl’s neck and back leaving her with scars that will stay with her until she is a teenager.

Her mother said she was left with a fear of animals with claws and still has flashbacks and nightmares, reports Wales Live.

Barge was let off an immediate jail sentence after admitting to being in charge of a dog dangerously out of control in a public place.

Prosecutor Jeff Jones said: “The dog was trained in Germany and the new owner was told it could easily overstep the mark.

“He was told to keep it away from children’s playgrounds and sandpits because it wasn’t good with children.

“Barge was walking the dog through the park on a harness when it nudged the little girl off her feet.

“It gripped her back and neck and began shaking her for about 15 seconds while she was on the ground. Passers-by and the girl’s grandfather all struggled to get the dog off her such was its grip.”

Barge and other people in the park shouted at the dog but the only English commands it understood were “heel” and “sit”.

The court heard Barge and his mother Melanie Harries paid the rescue centre in Llanelli £150 for the 10-year-old dog.

Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court heard the horrific incident triggered a mental breakdown in Barge and he spent 10 weeks in a psychiatric hospital.

The dog attack took place last year
The dog attack took place last year

Peter Donnison, defending, said Barge was “deeply saddened and remorseful” and arranged to have the dog put down immediately after the attack.

Barge was given a two month suspended jail sentence and ordered to pay the girl £500 compensation for her injuries.

Judge Richard Twomlow told him: “This was a terrifying incident for the little girl and for her grandparents who were with her.

“You had no reason to think that the dog would behave in this extreme way. But given the victim’s age and her injuries, this does pass the custody threshold. There will be a prison sentence but it will be suspended.”

The judge said the £500 compensation was not intended to reflect the severity of the little girl’s injuries.

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