Man jailed after setting XL Bully dog on woman in Wigan

XL Bully Dogs will be illegal to own after 1 February, 2024 Credit: ITV News

A man has been jailed after setting his XL Bully dog on a "defenceless" woman and encouraging it to attack her.

Liam Rainey took his dog's muzzle off before it jumped on her and bit her to the arm and chest.

After regaining control of the animal, Rainey then said "good dog, get her", before it attacked her for a second time in the street in Wigan.

The horrifying attack occurred after the victim had tried to intervene in a row between Rainey and his girlfriend, Manchester Crown Court was told.

"This was a terrifying ordeal," Judge Sarah Johnston told 26-year-old Rainey, as she sentenced him to three years in prison.

"You deliberately used your dog as a weapon, in what became a sustained attack on a defenceless woman who was wounded by your animal on your instruction."

Rainey was also banned from owning a dog for five years. "I regard the dog as one of your victims as well," the judge told him.

It will become illegal to own an XL Bully dog in England and Wales from 1 February 2024.

Prosecutors told how the attack occurred in Windermere Road, Ince, on Sunday 11 June 2023.

Stock image Credit: ITV News

The victim, 55, was at home with her niece who received a text message from Rainey asking whether his girlfriend was there, prosecutor Ellen Shaw said.

She told him she was elsewhere, but Rainey did not believe her. The pair decided to drive to meet Rainey's girlfriend, but bumped into her in the street during their journey.

Shortly after, Rainey also arrived at the scene on foot with his dog, described as an 'XL Bully type'. The dog was said to have had a muzzle on as a 'precaution'.

There was an 'altercation' between him and his girlfriend, before the victim of the dog attack sought to diffuse the situation.

Rainey then 'squared up to her', before removing the dog's muzzle.

He then 'set it on her'. The dog jumped up and bit the woman on her forearm and on the chest, leaving her wounded and bloodied.

Rainey brought the dog back under his control, but then said: "Good dog, get her." The woman was then bitten by the dog again to her side.

After Rainey left, the victim returned home and alerted the police. She went to hospital, where her wounds were cleaned and dressed.

Rainey was arrested at his home the following morning. He told police that the dog was 'calm and friendly', and that it 'would never attack anybody'.

The victim told how her ordeal has affected her psychologically. "I never leave the house anymore, I can't sleep and constantly want to be on my own," she said.

"I feel like a different person since this incident has happened. If I do leave the house, and I see a dog out on the street, I panic. I keep thinking 'what if this dog had bitten a child?' I often have nightmares about dogs."

Defending, Kevin Liston said that Rainey, who has 24 previous convictions, including for robbery and violence, had used his time on remand in prison 'productively'.

He said that Rainey's dog had not attacked anyone else previously.

Rainey has since relinquished ownership of the animal, and it is being cared for at kennels. Under the law, the judge must decide whether the dog should be destroyed following the attack.

Judge Johnson adjourned the case, asking prosecutors for more information about how the dog has behaved since the attack before she rules on its fate.

Rainey, of Darlington Street East, Wigan, pleaded guilty to section 20 wounding and being in charge of a dog which was dangerously out of control and caused injury.