Dog ordered to be put down as boy needed stitches after attack in Hartlepool street

A dog which bit a child will be destroyed.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 11 July, 2019, 16:45
The case was heard at Teesside Magistrates' Court.

TJ, a Japanese Akita, caused an arm wound needing stitches to a 12-year-old boy while on a walk with his owner in Hartlepool.

Stephen Howlett had signed a behaviour contract promising to keep the dog muzzled in public following an earlier incident, Teesside Magistrates’ Court heard.

Howlett claimed the dog was muzzled on the day it bit the boy, but the muzzle had ‘come off’ during the walk and he had not noticed.

Prosecutor Anne Mitchell told the court the boy was with friends in Masefield Road when they came across Howlett and TJ coming in the other direction.

“The dog was on a lead,” said Ms Mitchell. “Mr Howlett led the dog between the group.

“As he did so, it jumped up and bit the boy on his arm, ripping his jacket.

“Mr Howlett pulled the dog away, saying nothing.

“The boy carried on, and when he removed his jacket he was distressed to discover his arm was bleeding.

“The wound was stitched in hospital.”

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The court heard the dog was put in kennels by police.

Staff at the kennels found TJ to be aggressive and unsociable, and he tried to bite a police officer who was carrying out a behavioural assessment.

Howlett, 64, of Marlowe Road, Hartlepool, admitted having a dog dangerously out of control on February 8.

Neil Taylor, defending, said: “Mr Howlett’s family has had TJ since he was a puppy.

“He accepts he is now a big dog, and he can be an anxious dog.

“What appears to have happened is the boy went to stroke TJ, something he had done before, and the dog reacted badly to that.

“Mr Howlett is anxious to point out he does not blame the boy in any way, and he takes full responsibility for what happened.”

The magistrates ordered the destruction of TJ, and sentenced Howlett to a community order of 12 months, 15 rehabilitation activity days, and ordered him to pay £250 compensation to the boy, and £500 towards kennel fees.

Howlett was banned from keeping a dog for 10 years.