Pair jailed for their part in death of 'beautiful' Jack Lis who died in Caerphilly dog attack

  • A warning that this report by Hannah Thomas contains images of animal cruelty from the start.

A man and a woman have been jailed after admitting being in charge of a dog that mauled a 10-year-old boy to death.

Jack Lis was attacked by the animal - an American bully or XL bully dog called 'Beast' - in Penyrheol, Caerphilly, on November 8, 2021.

The court heard that Jack had "catastrophic and unsurvivable injuries" which caused his death.

Last month, Amy Salter, 29, and Brandon Hayden, 19, pleaded guilty to being in charge of a dog dangerously out of control, causing injury resulting in death.

Hayden also pleaded guilty to a further five offences of owning a dog dangerously out of control between November 4 and 7.

Today (Friday), at Cardiff Crown Court, Hayden was jailed for four years and six months. Salter was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment.

Both were banned from owning a dog indefinitely.

Amy Salter and Brandon Hayden have been jailed. Credit: Gwent Police

The court heard that on November 3, 2021, Brandon Hayden responded to a Facebook advert saying there was a dog free to a good home, but that it was not good with other dogs.

Days later, Hayden took ownership of the dog, called 'Beast', and asked Salter, his friend of six months, if Beast could stay with her because he didn't have enough space at his home.

Salter agreed, and gave Hayden a key to come in and walk him.

Salter saw Hayden with the dog on November 4 at the shops area in Penyrheol. The court was shown CCTV footage of the dog lunging and barking at people as they passed by, with Hayden struggling to control it.

Jack Lis was attacked by the dog called 'Beast'.

The CCTV also shows Hayden kicking and hitting the dog outside his dad's house after the dog had mauled a neighbour's Jack Russell, the court heard.

Footage shows Salter herself being bitten by the dog, and also children being exposed to it, with one child knocked off their scooter by the animal and pushed into the road.

The court heard that passers-by were scared to go near the dog, and it injured two members of the public in the days before Jack's death.

On November 8 2021, Jack sustained fatal injuries in an attack by Beast - who weighed nearly 100 pounds - at a house near to his own.

Jack's mother cried in court as she heard how Beast pushed her son to the floor and began attacking him.

A police officer managed to distract Beast long enough to drag Jack out of the house, where emergency services worked on him - but he could not be saved. Firearms officers later shot the dog dead.

The dog was shot by firearms officers following the attack.

Brandon Hayden told the police that he will "never forget the images he saw" and "can't get them out of [his] mind".

In a powerful statement read out in court, Jack's mother Emma Whitfield said: "No mum should ever have the last images of their child as being dragged from a house, knowing deep down they're gone but praying that it isn't so.

"I close my eyes and I see the animal and its teeth. I hear the barking. I have severe panic attacks and I have horrifying flashbacks.

"I constantly ask 'Why my boy? Why Jack?' I would have given my life trying to protect him."

Ms Whitfield said she has Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder after what she witnessed, and is on medication.

Jack’s father John Lis said in a statement: “The circumstances and the thought of how my son Jack must have been feeling at that time; all alone, in pain and frightened to death, haunts me every day and night, I cannot close my eyes at night and think of anything else.

“Jack was 10 years old and had his whole life ahead of him, but this was taking from him so unnecessary, and so tragically.

“All I can pray for is that we get some justice for Jack’s needless death and that lessons will be learnt preventing any other child and family suffering as we are.”

Iwan Jenkins from the CPS: 'It's vital that humans take control of their dogs' behaviour'

Police officers at the scene said it was the most difficult thing that they had ever had to deal with.

Sergeant Ross Phillips, who pulled Jack from the house after the attack, said in a statement: "I've thought about the incident and Jack every day since I attended the call. It will live with me for the rest of my life and it will not be something I will ever get over."

He said he has spoken little of what he saw that day but described it as "traumatic and heartbreaking", and said Jack's death was a "terrible waste".

Judge Michael Fitton QC expressed his condolences to the family, adding: "[Jack's] death was utterly tragic and a needless event".

He told Salter that the decision to have the dog at her home was "utterly irresponsible" and told Hayden that he was "inadequate in his efforts to deal with the dog".

In a statement, the Crown Prosecution Service said: "Our thoughts remain with Jack, along with his family and friends, who have suffered a heart-wrenching loss.

"Despite warnings from the previous owner, and knowing its aggression, Hayden and Salter left the animal at the house without taking any proper measures to control it.

"Their failure to do so had catastrophic consequences."