“I was terrified dog was going to kill my child” says mum after St Albans dog attack

Marshall Avenue.

Marshall Avenue. - Credit: Archant

The owners of a dog which attacked three children have been ordered to have their family pet put down and banned from owning or looking after a dog for two years.

Sandringham Crescent.

Sandringham Crescent. - Credit: Archant

Major, a Japanese Akita, jumped on and bit three young children in three separate incidents in St Albans. His owners, Allal Hmidouche, 28, and his uncle Benaissa Hmidouche, 49, of Marshall Avenue, St Albans, pleaded guilty to being in charge of a dog dangerously out of control and causing injury.

On March 5. 2015, Major attacked a pre-school aged child in Sandringham Crescent, after the child asked Allal Hmidouche whether they could stroke the dog. The child’s mother, in a statement read out in court, said: “Within seconds the dog had turned on my child. He jumped on my child and the weight of the dog knocked my child to the ground. The dog was growling and biting my child and I was screaming.

“I was terrified the dog was going to kill my child.”

The mother described how the attack left her child “traumatised” and with a bleeding cut to the forehead and claw marks on the upper body.

In the second attack, on May 15, 2015, a primary-school aged child was invited by another child, who did not live at the address, into the Hmidouches’ back garden to look at Major, who was chained to a post. A statement from the victim said: “The dog ran towards me and jumped up and knocked me backwards into a table. It bit me on the shoulder.

“It left me feeling very shocked and scared. Whenever I saw the same dog afterwards I crossed the road.”

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The child ran into the next-door garden and was looked after by the neighbour until their mum, who had heard screaming from the street, arrived. The child had to have the back of their head glued in hospital where it had hit the table.

In the final incident, on May 14, 2016, Benaissa Hmidouche was walking the dog in Marshall Avenue when it attacked another primary school-aged child, who was out with their dad walking dogs.

The child’s statement read: “The dog came at me. It was out of control on top of me and I banged my head on the floor. My dad pulled the dog off me.

“The man got hold of the dog and it was still trying to get me. My dad shouted at him: ‘Don’t ever bring that dog near my child again’.

“I saw a chunk of blood and my arm was open. It made me feel really sick and I was in so much pain I was crying. The dog had bitten through my t-shirt.”

Alison Griffiths, prosecuting, said a statement from the final victim’s father said Hmidouche “did not seem to have the strength to control [the dog] appropriately.”

Andy Hobdell, mitigating for the Hmidouches in St Albans Magistrates’ Court on Monday, February 13, said Allal Hmidouche “would never have allowed the child to approach the dog if he had known that was going to happen”, that in the second incident the dog was “secure” as far as the defendant was concerned, and that in the third attack Benaissa Hmidouche was “taken by surprise at the dog’s response”.

He pointed out that Major is the third dog the family has owned, and is a “beautiful dog” who is “well-looked after”.

Magistrate Gladys Cummings ordered Major’s immediate destruction. She said: “The dog has caused some rather nasty injuries to three small children. “We are satisfied that the dog is a danger to public safety. Comments from witnesses at the scene made it quite clear that the adult in charge of the dog is unable to control it.”

Benaissa Hmidouche was ordered to pay £515, including compensation to victims and court costs, and Allal Hmidouche was ordered to pay £570 and to undertake 100 hours of unpaid work, with both defendants banned from looking after dogs.