Horror as guard dog savages 3-year-old girl

A girl, 3, was ferociously savaged by a guard dog trained to listen to commands in German that had a new owner who could not speak the language.

The toddler was visiting Barry Sidings Countryside Park in Pontypridd with her grandparents when she was grabbed by the dog and shaken by its powerful jaws.

A court heard that the Dutch herder dog, named Chief, was trained in Germany for security work.

Its new owner was exercising it in the park when it seized the little girl and bit into her neck and back in August.

The attack has left her with scars that will not fade until she is a teenager.

The dog – similar to an Alsatian – was adopted from a rescue centre where the new owner was told it was ‘not good’ with children just four days before the incident.

New owner Daniel Barge, 33, was let off an immediate jail sentence after he admitted 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 sand pits 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.’

Mr Barge and other people in the park shouted at the dog in English but the only words it understood were ‘heel’ and ‘sit’.

The court heard Mr Barge paid the rescue centre in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, £150 for the 10-year-old dog.

Mr Jones added: ‘There was knowledge that this dog had a past – it had been trained to be aggressive and had been used in protection and as a security dog.’

The ferocious attack happened at the Barry Sidings Countryside Park in Pontypridd in August last year.

A victim impact statement from the toddler’s mother said the ordeal has left her with a fear of animals with claws and still has flashbacks and nightmares now.

The girl received treatment at University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff for four days where she had surgery under general anaesthetic on her injuries.

Peter Donnison, who was defending the dogs new owner in court said Mr Barge was ‘deeply saddened and remorseful’ and had arranged to have the dog put down immediately after the attack.

At Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court Mr Barge was given a two month suspended jail sentence and ordered to pay the girl £500 compensation for her injuries.

Judge Richard Twomlow said: ‘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.