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A toddler was mauled by a rottweiler after stepping into a field where animals were playing in Worcestershire, an inquest has revealed

A “fearless” two-year-old boy died after being mauled by a rottweiler who was his grandmother's breeder when he opened a gate to a field where the animals were playing, an inquest has found.

Lawson Bond suffered serious neck injuries and went into cardiac arrest when he was attacked at the cottage in Egdon. Worcestershireon March 28, 2022 and later died in hospital.

An inquest into the infant's death before the Worcestershire Coroner's Court found that Lawson was found lying injured in a field next to the family home, which was used to exercise the dogs his grandmother Maria Bond kept in kennels on the property.

Ms Bond had bred and sold puppies for around 30 years – although she was not licensed to do so.

The investigation revealed that the grandmother cleaned up the kennels of three bitches and had let them onto the adjacent field, which she had rented, so they could exercise and play while she worked on their cages.

She told Worcestershire Chief Medical Examiner David Reid that she went back into the cottage briefly to use the loo and when she came out again she noticed the wooden gate between the family garden and the kennels, which was usually secured A metal chain was open and Lawson was not there.

She said: “At first I thought this little bastard went into the field, so I called his name and went upstairs to get him back inside.”

“He was face down and I couldn't see any of the dogs. I panicked, I grabbed him, picked him up and screamed.”

Lawson was first taken to Worcestershire Royal Hospital for emergency surgery and then transferred to the pediatric intensive care unit at Birmingham Children's Hospital.

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Undated handout photo issued by Birmingham Women and Childrens' NHS Foundation Trust of Birmingham Children's Hospital.  Two hospital staff are likely to benefit after their NHS trust became the first in England to offer paid leave for those struggling with premature child loss or premature birth.  The Birmingham Women's and Children's NHS Foundation Trust is the first in the NHS to offer such support.  Issue date: Friday July 9, 2021.
The child died at Birmingham Children's Hospital. file image

The boy suffered several serious injuries

Despite the surgery, Lawson suffered seizures and progressively worsening brain damage before he died on the morning of March 30, 2022.

A post-mortem revealed that Lawson had multiple serious injuries, including injuries to the head, chest, and neck, including a wound to the left internal carotid artery that was repaired during surgery.

The causes of death were given as hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, a type of brain damage, and injury to the left internal carotid artery as a result of dog trauma.

The three dogs – one of whom had blood on her face – were still in the field when West Mercia police officers arrived at the hut were put down on April 7, 2022.

Dogs were “calm and well-behaved”

Coroner Reid said while he had no reason to believe that Ms Bond's lack of a breeding license contributed to her grandson's death, he would write a report to Wychavon County Council on preventing future deaths because he was concerned that they are not proactive enough in investigating “unscrupulous” breeders in their area.

He said: “All three dogs were said to have been calm and well behaved. There is no evidence to link Ms Bond's lack of license to Lawson's death and there is no evidence that the way they were treated contributed to his death.”

“The impression their vet got was that they were healthy with no signs of neglect.

“There are two possibilities, one being that Lawson opened the gate, or that Mrs. Bond left the gate unsecured when she went in to use the bathroom.

“Her clear memory was securing the gate and I have no reason to doubt that. It appears Lawson managed to climb onto the gate and lift the chain over the gate post.”

The coroner ruled Lawson's death an accident.

“Nothing would upset him”

Speaking about his son at the inquest, a tearful Mr Bond said Lawson was an “energetic” child and “nothing would upset him”.

He said: “He couldn't wait to get up in the morning. Anything I did, he wanted to do too.”

“He was fearless and wanted to be outside and do what I was doing, whether it was cleaning the kennels or vacuuming.”

“The three dogs would always sit and lick his face. He socialized with all the dogs, but I would never leave him alone with them, not that I'd ever been that worried about them.”

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