Parents have to watch their children 24 hours a day’: What owner of devil dog said after seeing his Staffy rip off toddler’s nose and ear
Kieron Guess is in an induced coma and could be left partially blind after one of his eyes was left ‘hanging out’, according to relatives
Family reveal today that the youngster has been able to squeeze the hands of his loved ones
Grandfather suffered bites as he came to Swindon toddler’s rescue
He claims family are now too scared to return home after dog attack
Police confirm neighbour’s Staffordshire bull terrier has been destroyed
Officers were bitten during a raid at the owner’s house last year
The owner of a Staffordshire bull terrier which ripped off a toddler’s ear and nose has astonishingly blamed the boy’s parents for not keeping a closer eye on him.
Two-year-old Keiron Guess is in a coma today after being rushed to hospital with horrendous injuries. He was playing outside his house in Swindon, Wiltshire, when his neighbour’s dog savaged him.
But Garfield King, the dog’s owner, said: ‘If you’re a parent you have to look after your children 24 hours a day. If it wasn’t a dog it could have been a paedophile.’
Garfield’s son Jonathan went face-to-face with Dave Guess, during a heated confrontation near their houses today.
The toddler had seven hours of emergency reconstructive surgery and his parents, Stacey, 22, and Anthony, 23, have been at his bedside.
It emerged today that he has been able to squeeze the hands of loved ones as he continues to recover from his horrific injuries.
The toddler was able to respond after medics began reducing his coma – but doctors have stressed he is still at risk.
Carl Drury, Keiron’s great uncle, said: ‘He is stable but they have said he is not out of the woods yet and there is a long way to go.
‘They did reduce the coma slightly last night and he responded by squeezing fingers.’
The youngster was saved by his grandfather, who was also injured but has been left breathing with the aid of a ventilator.
Today Kieron’s grandfather Dave Guess, who rescued him from the dog, said the family were too frightened to return home.
Despite the out of control dog being destroyed, there is still another one living at the neighbour’s house.
‘It would be hard for Keiron to come back here after what has gone on – he would be terrified,’ said Dave.
‘Something needs to be done. We still don’t know whether the owner will be allowed to keep his other dog yet.
‘But this should never have happened in the first place – the dog had bitten people, including a police officer, and other dogs before.
‘It just does not seem right that no-one will be prosecuted – I saw my grandson get ripped to pieces by that dog. He has massive scars across his face.’
Keiron’s family believe the youngster may have wandered through an open gate into the property, from an alleyway next to their home.
A Staffordshire bull terrier called ‘Ratty’ – believed to be owned by Rastafarian Garfield King – then set upon the child, savaging his face with its giant jaws.
Dave, describing what he saw when he got to the child seconds later, said: ‘He was ripping him to pieces – Keiron was a mess.
‘The dog owner was holding Keiron up but the dog was just jumping up and biting him.
‘I took Keiron off him, put him on my shoulders, and ran back into the alleyway. I was getting bitten by the dog but eventually managed to get Keiron safe.’
The toddler was rushed to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol, where he underwent seven hours of reconstructive surgery.
Doctors reconstructed part of his nose, putting metal plates in his face, and tried to rebuild his left ear – which had been completely severed.
Garfield’s son Jonathan King said as he clashed with Dave Guess: ‘I have come up from London to defend my dad. He is in a bad way at the moment – he has grandkids himself.
‘We are very apologetic to the family of the child – he is the most important thing right now. But the dogs were in the garden and the child has strayed into the garden.’
Kieron’s other grandfather said the boy was ‘on the mend’.
Doctors have been tentatively waking the youngster and letting him move around before returning him to his slumber but there are still fears he may suffer an infection.
Grandfather Shaun Leonard said: ‘His parents have gone up to hospital again today.
‘He’s on the mend I think and he’s starting to move. They are waking him up, letting him move and putting him back down.
‘Keiron’s got swelling on his face but its starting to go down. The doctors are saying they don’t want him to get an infection. They are also saying he’s got fluid on his lungs – it’s a bit of blood but that’s understandable after what he’s been through.
‘Everything we hear now is just a worry.’
Mr Leonard said the boy was playing in a lane behind the family home at 6pm on Sunday when the dog burst out of Mr King’s back yard.
Mr Leonard said: ‘The dog took his left ear off and bit off most of his nose. His left eye was hanging out.
‘He has injuries from his forehead right down to his chin. There were holes in his face. The dog also took a chunk out of the back of his head.’
Keiron’s 49-year-old paternal grandfather, David Guess, heard his screams and raced to help
Mr Leonard, a lorry driver, continued: ‘He managed to pull Keiron on to his shoulders but the dog was still jumping up at him. It just kept coming back for more.’
His 22-year-old mother, who is pregnant and has another son, Kenzie aged four, with her 23-year-old scaffolder husband, wrote on Facebook: ‘Just waiting for my gorgeous baby. Just want to hold you in our arms.’
Mr King, whose son owned the dog, was watching the Diamond Jubilee celebrations in his end of terrace redbrick home when the canine entered the garden and sunk its teeth into the youngster’s head.
‘All of a sudden the dog went outside. I heard squeaking and then I had to go outside to check on the dog,’ he said.
‘The dog was looking like he was playing with something. I thought the neighbours had thrown a dolly over the fence but then I saw it wasn’t a dolly because I saw all the blood. I’m still in shock now.’
However, Mr King was unapologetic talking at his home, lined with Buddhist ornaments and African drums, saying the parents should have been watching over their son.
Wiltshire Police said the dog was due to be destroyed yesterday but no arrests had been made. In September last year, a police team raided Mr King’s address, and an officer was bitten by a dog after the animal had been Tasered.
It is believed that the police officer who went to the house after the mauling of Keiron was the same police officer who was bitten on the hand by the dog last year.
During the raid a local newspaper photographer took a photograph of two dogs jumping at the glass door. It is not known if the picture features the dog which attacked Keiron.
After the raid, Police Constable Mark Giles from Wiltshire Police said: ‘The owner was trying to control the two of them but they were trying to fight each other and get at us.
‘I had to deploy my Taser to try to prevent them from attacking but one leapt up and bit me even after I hit it in the mouth.’
Under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, if a dog bites someone while on its owner’s property, police are not required to take action unless the injury is severe or the dog is thought to be a danger to others.