Parents of boy, 11, whose arm was torn to the bone by a savage Staffie are furious as owner is allowed to keep pets


FURIOUS parents of an 11-year-old boy whose arm was torn to the bone in a savage dog attack have blasted a court’s decision not to ban the animal’s owner from keeping pets.

Cooper Johnstone was left drifting in and out of consciousness after a Staffordshire Bull Terrier ripped the flesh from his arm as he knocked on his friend's door in Ormskirk, Lancashire.,%20,%20,%20,%20,%20,%20,%20,%20,%20,%20,%20
Cooper, pictured with dad Ellis, 46 and mum Karan, 50, had the flesh on his arm ripped from the bone when he was bitten by a Staffordshire Bull TerrierCredit: Mercury Press,%20,%20,%20,%20,%20,%20,%20,%20,%20,%20,%20
Defendent Sarah Haselton, 36, was seen leaving Preston Magistrates Court yesterdayCredit: Mercury Press

During the vicious attack, the youngster believed he was "going to die" and has since been plagued by panic attacks and a severe phobia of dogs.

But the animal’s owner Sarah Haselton, 36, was spared a ban on keeping animals when she appeared at Preston Magistrates Court yesterday.

Karan Johnstone, Cooper's mum, argued that the attack had left her too terrified to leave their home.

She said: “Cooper not only has awful scars to live with for the rest of his life, but is having a terrible time with panic attacks, to the point where he is housebound.

“He is in a bad way — every time we try to take him out there is always a dog and no matter if it’s on a lead or not, he has a terrible panic attack."

Cooper not only has awful scars to live with for the rest of his life, but is having a terrible time with panic attacks, to the point where he is houseboundKaran Johnstone

Ms Haselton, an NHS worker, had admitted being the owner of a dangerously out of control animal causing injury, at an earlier hearing last month.

She was ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and told to pay the family £500 in compensation.

Sentencing her, magistrate Martin Sears added: "We have discussed at great length what appears to be a sad and tragic case.

"We do not feel it is necessary to disqualify you from having a dog."

But after the hearing, Karan and Cooper’s father Ellis Johnstone expressed their outrage and "bitter disappointment" that a ban was not imposed.

Karan, 50, added: “It’s not nice to watch your child having a panic attack while trying to leave the supermarket just because someone has left their dog in the doorway.

“When he has a panic attack he thinks he is going to die, it’s just awful.

“If he sees a dog, he either freezes or runs and has run across a road in fear so many times without looking.

"It’s just not fair for him to be going through this."

The court heard Ms Haselton had already paid £200 of her own money to have the dog, known as Eddie, put down after it bit Cooper.

Representing Ms Haselton, who was not home at the time of the attack, defence lawyer David Licide, said: “This is a sad and rather tragic incident that no one could have foreseen.",%20,%20,%20,%20,%20,%20,%20,%20,%20,%20,%20
Staffordshire Bull Terrier Eddie was put down after the unprovoked attackCredit: Mercury Press,%20,%20,%20,%20,%20,%20,%20,%20,%20,%20,%20
The flesh on his arm was torn away right down to the boneCredit: Mercury Press,%20,%20,%20,%20,%20,%20,%20,%20,%20,%20,%20
The young boy drifting in and out consciousness while in hospitalCredit: Mercury Press,%20,%20,%20,%20,%20,%20,%20,%20,%20,%20,%20
His permanent scarring is a constant reminder of the viscous attackCredit: Mercury Press,%20,%20,%20,%20,%20,%20,%20,%20,%20,%20,%20
The 11-year-old thought he was 'going to die' and has since been plagued by severe panic attacks and a crippling phobia of dogsCredit: Mercury Press