A MAN whose baby son tragically died has avoided a dog ban after his pet left a runner scarred in a freak attack.
Wayne Olivares was given a community order at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court after he admitted being in charge of his seven-year-old Staffordshire terrier, Bronson, when it bit runner Craig Dapson last year.
Olivares, 29, was walking the rescue dog on a lead along Hartley Road in North End on November 8, when he was faced by the victim after turning a corner.
Bronson was then ‘startled’, jumped and bit Mr Dapson in the stomach – leaving him floored in pain with abdominal scars to follow.
Lian Webster-Martin, mitigating, said until that point Bronson had been ‘filling the void’ of Mr Olivares’ baby son, Max, who he used to visit in hospital with his partner Hannah as the tot battled pulmonary vein stenosis.
Crowds of mourners paid a heartfelt farewell to the 16-month-old at his funeral in May this year. The youngster never left hospital.
In court, district judge Anne Arnold heard the dog attack had left Mr Dapson scared to run again – tarnishing his hopes of soon completing a marathon.
Reading the victim statement, prosecutor Giles Fletcher said: ‘The attack was a complete shock. It came out of nowhere and I could not believe the owner left the scene.’
He added: 'The scars cause me embarrassment – I try to hide them when I go to the gym. My wife doesn't like them either.’
As a result of pulling out of two races, Mr Dapson lost £80 in sign-up fees – and said his wife had to take time off work to care for him as he suffered ‘stabbing’ pains ‘weeks after’ the attack.
But on the day it took place, the court heard, Olivares of Wilverley Avenue, Havant, took the ‘extremely difficult’ decision to have his dog destroyed.
Now sentenced to 15 days of rehabilitation activities, Olivares has penned an open apology to Mr Dapson, who was not at court.
He said: ‘I am so sorry. It was a sad, unfortunate accident – wrong place, wrong time.
‘I have had a lot of stress and I know [Mr Dapson] has too. But I’m glad this has all come to an end now.’
He added: ‘I hope in the future he can get back to how he was before and get his life back on track. And hopefully, his scars will heal up as well.’