A British man whose banned dogs mauled his pregnant girlfriend to death wasn’t given any jail time this week because a judge said he had suffered enough personal loss.
Lee Horner, 34, was sentenced Thursday at Leeds magistrates court to 280 hours of community service.
His two pitbulls, which are illegal under the Dangerous Dogs Act in England, mauled his pregnant girlfriend, 27-year-old Emma Bennett, to death at their home last December.
He admitted last month that he owned the banned canines.
Deputy district judge Tim Spruce said he felt it would be inappropriate to jail Horner given the personal loss he had suffered when his girlfriend died.
Two social workers testified that they visited the home in July 2013 and Horner told one of them: “Shut it or I’ll set the dog on you.”
"What you looking at? Wait until I get the dog and see if you continue looking at me like that,” he allegedly told the other social worker, who was eight months pregnant.
Prosecutors said neighbors called police to the couple’s home in December after they heard what they believed was an argument.
Bennett was allegedly shouting: “No, no, no.”
Two officers received no response at the door and proceeded inside, where they found Bennett with severe injuries to her face and head. The dogs, Dollar and Bella, had blood on their snouts.
Judge Spruce said the dog ban was instated to protect the public because "these animals are inclined to be unpredictable in nature and often with devastating consequences.”
"Those risks are now catastrophically obvious," Spruce said. "The devastating consequences of your decision making, Mr. Horner, are something you will have to live with for the rest of your life."
He noted that the two dogs had no history of violence when they attacked.
"This was a truly shocking, tragic and disturbing episode,” he said. “No sentence this court can impose could possibly compensate or make good or recompense for the loss of a beloved granddaughter, sister, daughter and mother."
Horner is banned from keeping dogs for the rest of his life. He was ordered to pay $850 for the animals to be euthanized and to cover their housing costs since the incident.