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Savage dog's owner jailed

The owner of a dog which attacked two London children within a week, leaving one boy permanently scarred, was jailed for six months last week. The second attack by the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, which was allowed to roam residential streets alone, was so ferocious that witnesses said the dog shook a seven-year old boy "like a piece of meat" and left him needing emergency surgery.

The dog's owner Martin Crump, 27, who described himself as a 'businessman', was sentenced at Horseferry Road magistrates' court after pleading guilty to having a dangerous dog out of control.

The dog, called Milo, first attacked an eight-year-old girl, leaving two bite punctures in her thigh, said prosecutor Leonard Herman. Though aware of the attack, Crump let the animal off the leash again six days later, when it approached the boy and his mother and blocked their way as they left Queen's Park.

The boy threw a ball to encourage the animal to move away but it lunged at him, locking its teeth into his right leg, said Mr Herman. "The mother, frantic with fear, tried to pull the boy away. She hit the dog several times."

Mother and child were screaming for help, the court heard. "The dog pushed between the mother's legs to reach the boy and grabbed him again by the right leg," said Mr Herman.

"A tug of war began between the mother and the dog, with the child in the middle. The dog was hanging off the boy's leg. Eventually, the dog pulled the boy to the ground and began shaking him from side to side in a crazed fashion."

The boy had surgery for his wounds, one of which was described as the size of a chicken leg and exposed the bone beneath, said Mr Herman. The boy, who along with his mother cannot be identified for legal reasons, spent four days in hospital.

Passers-by tried to help during the attack at seven o'clock one September evening last year, the court heard. One woman threw stones at the dog, but it was not until a man grabbed it's collar and dragged the animal away that the boy was finally safe.

Crump, of St John's Wood, went voluntarily to a police station two weeks later and admitted he was Milo's owner, the court heard. He had already taken the animal to Battersea Dogs' Home where it was put down.

District Judge Rosamond Keating rejected Crump's claim by that he had no idea the dog was dangerous.