I’m so sorry’
A MOTHER who was jailed following a dog attack on a four-year-old boy in Huntingdon has publicly expressed her sorrow and regret for the first time. Toni Badcock, who has four children of her own, was sent to prison after her partner s dog attacked toddle
A MOTHER who was jailed following a dog attack on a four-year-old boy in Huntingdon has publicly expressed her sorrow and regret for the first time.
Toni Badcock, who has four children of her own, was sent to prison after her partner's dog attacked toddler George Brown, leaving him needing 200 stitches in his face.
She told The Hunts Post this week she was really sorry for what happened to George but insists she did not deserve to go to prison.
The 30-year-old, who lives in Thongsley, Huntingdon, said: "I really do not think I deserved prison. I should have got community service. Instead, my children have had to suffer. I keep saying sorry but I don't know what else I can do."
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Ms Badcock said her life fell apart after the attack last August. She claimed people spat at her in the street, her relationship with partner Michael Feehily fell apart and she was forced to spend Christmas in prison and away from her children.
She had been watching EastEnders when the dog, Buddy, escaped from Mr Feehily's home in Norfolk Road, Huntingdon, and bit George. It was the second time the dog had attacked the boy.
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"I heard my youngest daughter crying," she said. "I opened the door to check on her and as I did the dog pushed past me knocking me back. He ran towards the green where the children were playing. I ran after him but he jumped at George, pinning him to the floor. I saw him bite him. It was horrible, I was pulling the dog by the collar trying to pull him off George but I wasn't strong enough. I could see blood."
She claims she is still haunted by the images of that day. "All I wanted was for someone strong to help me pull the dog off the child. I was shouting for help but no one came."
The American Bulldog, a rescue dog from Wood Green Animal Shelters in Godmanchester, was put down following the attack and both Ms Badcock and Mr Feehily were prosecuted.
Ms Badcock said she sent a card to George and his mother, Danielle Brown, expressing how sorry they were.
"I feel for Danielle and wish something could have been done to prevent this," she said. "All I want is for her to say she doesn't blame me for what happened.
"I'm not asking for forgiveness and I wouldn't expect it, but I would like to talk to her mother-to-mother, heart-to-heart to tell her it was not totally my fault and that I did everything I could to help George."
However, Mrs Brown told The Hunts Post: "I can never forgive her. If she thinks she has suffered, we have suffered more. We have had to move home, leaving our friends and family, and George will be physically and mentally scarred for life.
"George misses Norfolk Road and all his friends and our life has changed for ever. If it was my dog, it would have been put down at the first sign of trouble and there is no excuse for what happened. It could have been easily avoided. She does not regret what happened and I don't think she ever will."
Ms Badcock said she has been so traumatised by the attack she can not even say Buddy's name. Instead she refers to him as "the dog".
"He was a playful and clumsy dog that we all loved. We never expected him to bite anyone and we didn't see him as a danger to children."
She is now trying to rebuild her life and has recently patched up things with Mr Feehily, her partner of 10 years, and they are now engaged.
"At first I blamed him (Michael) for what happened with George, but I know it wasn't his fault - it was just a freak accident."
She also claims she did not realise how badly George had been hurt until she saw him on television.
"I was horrified and felt devastated when I saw the images of George on the news. To think that I had somehow been responsible was heartbreaking, especially for a mother."
Ms Badcock admitted four counts of having a dangerous, out of control dog and was sentenced to nine months in prison. She was released on January 17 after serving two-and-a-half months - "an unpleasant experience that I will have to learn to live with". Mr Feehily was charged with one count of having a dangerous, out of control dog and was given a 12-month community order.
"My children have been really affected by what has happened. They have seen a lot on the news and had to cope with their mum being away and then coming back again.
"One of the hardest things has been trying to explain to my children why their mum had to go to prison when only naughty people go there. I hope we can all now get on with our lives as I think everyone has suffered enough.