Boy, 4, vandalized by neighbor’s dog and left with horrific facial injuries

Leon Lawlor had been playing in the garden and was attacked by the Lurcher dog as he attempted to use the downstairs toilet at the Stoke-on-Trent home

Leon Lawlor had been playing in the garden before the attack
Leon Lawlor had been playing in the garden before the attack

A four-year-old boy was brutally attacked by a dog when he went to a neighbor’s toilet.

Leon Lawlor was bitten around the mouth and eye and eventually required surgery as he was covered in blood.

The little boy was playing in David Thorley’s garden and was told to use the downstairs bathroom at his home in Stoke-on-Trent.

However, Lurcher Duke was in the house and devastated Leon in a terrible attack.

Thorley, 30, admitted to being the owner of a dog that caused injuries while being dangerously out of control and was sentenced to a six-month prison sentence suspended for 12 months, reports Stoke on Trent Live.

He was also ordered to pay Leon £250 in compensation.

Four-year-old Leon Lawlor was left with injuries that required hospital treatment

Lurcher Duke was in the house and devastated Leon in a terrible attack

The drama unfolded on August 1, 2020 at 7 p.m.

Prosecutor Alexander Barnfield said: “The child was shown the downstairs toilet in the utility room. The door of the utility room was ajar.

“The defendant’s lurcher, Duke, who belonged to Thorley for five years, had previously been in the vicinity of the child on a number of occasions.

“The child’s mother disagrees and claims the dog was always locked away when the child was there.

“The child was in the utility room getting ready to use the toilet when the dog attacked and bit his face.

“Thorley heard the disturbance and distress and intervened and immediately took the child to his parents.”

Leon suffered “significant” facial injuries and was taken to Royal Stoke University Hospital where his right eyelid and mouth were stitched up.

Mother Chloe Cyples pictured with Leon Lawlor

Leon was also left with some bruises

Staffordshire Police examined the dog the next day and the officer had no concerns about the animal’s behaviour. Duke has had several owners since then and his current whereabouts are unknown.

In his police interview, Thorley – who now lives in Lilac Grove, Blurton – said Duke had never been a problem before and he had no reason to believe anything would happen.

He added he immediately took steps to get him out of the area.

Steve Hennessy said mitigatingly that the defendant had expressed an appropriate level of regret and remorse.

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The father of three is a floor nurse and his partner is expecting another baby in August.

Mr Hennessy said: “He always accepted that the dog caused the injury. He was immediately remorseful to the child’s parents and the dog was immediately removed from the area so they wouldn’t have to see him again.”

The suspended sentence includes five days of rehabilitation and 60 hours of unpaid work.

Judge Graeme Smith said: “A neighbour’s four-year-old son was attacked by your dog Duke. He suffered significant and serious injuries. He had to be treated in the hospital.

“It’s clear that this was very out of character for Duke. There is no evidence of any previous incidents and there was no particular cause for concern in the police assessment.

“It was her fault for allowing the child to be in a confined area with Duke without proper supervision.”

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