Animal Rights

Drunk Pit Bull Gets Pardon for Child Attack

| by Denise A Justin

A court has ruled that a Pit Bull which bit a boy in the face will be spared based on testimony that the dog owner’s uncle poured a can of beer down the dog’s throat just moments earlier because the dog was thirsty, according to the Daily Mail.

The dog’s owner James Holmes, 24, of Colne, Lancaster (England) told Burnley magistrates his Pit Bull, Diesel, is now seeing a canine psychologist. He said that  Diesel is ‘good-natured’ when not under the influence.

Ten-year-old Joseph Pickering suffered a severe facial wound which required a skin graft and he will have a permanent scar above his eye, his mother said.

Carolyn Pickering also testified that her son now is terrified of dogs, has nightmares, and is not able to sleep alone in a room since the dog mauling.  She said, “I think it’s disgusting that the dog won’t be put down after everything we’ve been through.” The Sun reports.   

The incident happened on what was described as a “roasting hot” day in July.  Diesel had reportedly been taken for a walk by Holmes’ uncle, Paul Ashworth, and was attacked by another dog while they were out.  When they returned, Julie Hind, a friend who was sunbathing at the home said the dog looked thirsty.

According to Hind’s statement, “He was panting like mad and he was wandering around looking for shade. I said, ‘Take Diesel for a drink. Ash had a can of beer in his hand, lifted his head and poured it into his mouth. He said the beer wouldn’t hurt the dog.”

“The next thing, Joseph leaned over the gate and put both his hands on the dog and then I heard a snap and saw Joseph bleeding.” Hinds stated that she did not know whether Joseph touched Diesel’s face where he had been bitten by the other dog or not, but claimed the attack on a child was “totally out of character” for the Pit Bull.

With Diesel’s life on the line, Holmes hired dog behaviorist David Gilman who recommended the Pit Bull be spared. “Just like humans drinking outside in the sun, it would have had effects on the dog’s brain which I believe would lead to this behavior,” he testified.

Because the incident occurred on private property, no criminal charges will be filed against the dog owner or the uncle who contributed to Diesel’s errant behavior by giving him Stella Artois lager. However, according to the Daily Mail, “a civil action for failing to keep it [the Pit Bull] under control was brought by police under the Dangerous Dogs Act.” 

Magistrate Barbara Harvey warned, “But if this happens again--if Diesel bites anyone--there won’t be a second chance.”

The Mail reports that after the hearing, Gilman said, ‘If a dog has carried out an unprovoked attack on a child I would say it should be destroyed, but the circumstances here were absolutely bizarre.”