Father jailed after 12-day-old son killed by chow chow-Alsation cross at family home in Doncaster

Abigail Ellis and Stephen Joynes at a previous hearing after their dog killed 12-day-old Elon Ellis-Joynes
Stephen Joynes' dog 'Teddy' had a history of out-of-control behaviour. Credit: SWNS/Facebook

A father has been jailed for four years after his "vicious" dog mauled his newborn son to death at their home in Doncaster.

Sheffield Crown Court heard that Stephen Joynes was playing with his step-children in the garden of the family home at Welfare Road when the chow chow-Alsation cross, called "Teddy", attacked 12-day-old Elon Ellis-Joynes on 13 September, 2020.

Elon was found on the floor of the living room with the dog standing over him.

He had suffered between 30 and 40 puncture wounds and two cuts to his torso and abdomen. Despite the efforts of neighbours and paramedics, Elon died at Doncaster Royal Infirmary that afternoon.

Joynes, 36, pleaded guilty to being the owner of a dog that was dangerously out of control resulting in the death of a person.

Sentencing him, Judge Jeremy Richardson QC said he had shown "a complete inadequacy and inability to control a dog".

The court was told that Joynes bought the dog when he was in a previous relationship.

Richard Thyne, prosecuting, said there was "clear evidence" that the dog was liable to be out of control and "posed a risk to children".

Neighbours told police they had increased the height of fencing to stop the dog jumping into their gardens. One neighbour had seen Joynes kick and shout at the dog for escaping.

Five months before the fatal attack, the animal had bitten another child.

On the day Elon died, the family had returned home. Joynes's partner, Abigail Ellis, had gone to the toilet while he was in the garden with three other children.

One of the children walked back inside to find Elon "pale and bleeding" on the floor.

Miss Ellis called 999. Joynes was described as being in a "panic", saying: "I don't know what to do."

The court was told Miss Ellis's mother was shouting: "I told him to get rid of that dog."

Joynes had no previous convictions and was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the incident, the court heard.

Judge Jeremy Richardson QC.

But Judge Richardson told Joynes: "You knew the dog was unmanageable and had vicious characteristics.

"You had made no attempt to socialise the dog with children. All you did was hit or kick the dog and put it outside.

"You were warned about its nature. You took no effective steps to protect any of the children, least of all your 12-day-old infant son from this dangerous dog."

He said Elon must have been "terrified in the final moments of his life".

Joynes wept in the dock as he was jailed. He was also banned from keeping dogs for 15 years.

The court was told the dog has already been destroyed.

A case against Miss Ellis, who was also charged in connection with the incident, was later dropped.