Couple facing jail after dog attack left toddler severely injured

Michael Thornton and Hayley Eldridge at Maidstone Crown Court, the couple are facing jail after their banned pitbull-type dog mauled and severely injured a toddler in a playpark. Photo credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
Michael Thornton and Hayley Eldridge at Maidstone Crown Court, the couple are facing jail after their banned pitbull-type dog mauled and severely injured a toddler in a playpark. Photo credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

A couple are facing jail after their banned pitbull-type dog mauled and severely injured a toddler in a playpark.

Michael Thornton and Hayley Eldridge had allowed a 15-year-old girl to walk their dog which then attacked 18-month-old Viktoria Resetjnova in a playground in Chatham, Kent, on April 4 last year.

The child, who was playing with her older sister, was seriously injured and fought for her life as she was rushed to hospital.

The white-and-tan banned breed, called Max, was shot dead by firearms officers after the attack.

Both Thornton, 27, and Eldridge, 29 pleaded guilty to owning a dog which caused injury while dangerously out of control in a public place under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 at Maidstone Crown Court on Monday.

The visibly emotional couple wiped away tears and held hands in the dock before entering guilty pleas.

Thornton and Eldridge, who are both from Chatham, were bailed ahead of sentencing at the same court on September 24.