LONGUEUIL, Que. — A Quebec man whose pit bull-type dog mauled a young girl in 2015 has been sentenced to four years in prison, with the judge calling the case one of "gross and extreme negligence."
Quebec court Judge Pierre Belisle handed down the sentence for Karim Jean Gilles on Friday, a month after he convicted him of criminal negligence causing bodily harm.
The attack left the seven-year-old girl with severe damage to her face and cranium.
In reading his sentence, Belisle said there were no mitigating circumstances that would have allowed for a shorter sentence.
Jean Gilles, who represented himself, told court he would appeal the sentence.
He then asked the judge whether they were in municipal court. When Belisle answered in the negative, Jean Gilles responded that the crime for which he was charged was municipal-related.
The four-year term will begin once Jean Gilles' current sentence for assaulting a police officer expires. He is eligible for parole in July in that case.
Belisle said the dog attack was not a "one-off incident but rather part of repeated behaviour that has been going on for years."
"The table was set for a tragedy," the judge said. "The problem wasn't so much if the tragedy would occur but rather when it would happen."
The conviction carried a maximum 10-year prison term.
Magdalena Biron said during the trial the attack in a park left her daughter Vanessa with fractures to the cranium and hand, as well as a cheekbone broken in seven places. She still has scars on her face.
Her partner, Bernard Biron, said at the time Vanessa did not bear any grudges, even though the attack left her unable to eat solid food for months.
"She had to go to school with a device connected to her veins because her brain was infected,'' he said. "Because her skull was crushed in the back and the saliva of the dog infected her system.''
In a brief statement on the last day of his trial, Jean Gilles suggested to Belisle his animal might have been provoked.
The judge rejected the claim.
The dogs _ another of Jean Gilles' dogs was also at the park that day _ weren't wearing collars the day of the attack and were not on a leash, Belisle said. The accused's property was not adequately fenced in and he didn't have the ability to subdue the animals, the judge added.