XL Bully attack: Dad-of-five's injuries were 'the worst trauma doctor had ever seen', inquest hears

A dad-of-five died after a "frenzied" attack by an American XL Bully.

A dad-of-five suffered horrific injuries in what was described as a "frenzied" attack by an American XL Bully. Jonathan Hogg, 37, was looking after two of the dogs when one of them suddenly turned on him and inflicted fatal injuries in a prolonged attack on the evening of May 18 last year.

An inquest took place at Bolton coroners' court on Wednesday (April 17) into the circumstances surrounding the tragic death of Mr Hogg, who was known by friends and family as "Johnny" or "Hoggy".

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At the time of the attack, the dogs - a male called Poseidon and a female called Pandora - were being held in an enclosure in Westleigh and were being overseen by Mr Hogg from a static caravan at the site. They were not his dogs but were owned by his friend William “Billy” Bates, who rented the space to exercise the animals.

The inquest heard that Mr Hogg, of Lowe Mill Lane, Hindley, Wigan, whose occupation was given as floor layer and who had previously suffered mental health difficulties, “felt purpose” in caring for dogs. The attack was witnessed by Jordan Broxan, on whose property the enclosure was located. He said that both the dogs knew Mr Hogg and were comfortable around him.

He told the inquest: "Hoggy had come out of the caravan to see what the dogs were barking at. They both knew him and were comfortable around him. To begin with, Poseidon was jumping up at Mr Hogg playfully, but then the dog showed some form of aggression towards Hoggy and started tugging the sleeve of his jacket."

Mr Broxan said the incident "escalated very quickly", with Mr Hogg shouting "Poseidon, what are you doing? You know me." Mr Hogg made repeated attempts to get away from the dog, while Mr Broxan tried to distract the animal by throwing food and objects at him, but "nothing seemed to work."

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Mr Hogg ended up lying face down inside the compound, with the dog on top of him and raining down bites around his scalp and the back of his neck. Mr Broxan estimated the attack had lasted "on and off" for around 10 to 15 minutes, until Mr Hogg became unconscious.

An ambulance crew was nearby and Mr Hogg was taken to Salford Royal Hospital. He had gone into cardiac arrest and also suffered catastrophic blood loss, and despite all the efforts of medical staff to save him, his injuries were considered unsurvivable and he was pronounced dead early the following morning.

Dr Matthew Muldoon, who was on duty at the hospital, said Mr Hogg's injuries were the "single worst trauma case" he'd been involved with in 10 years working in emergency medicine.

The inquest heard that the week before the fatal attack, the RSPCA had visited the house of the dog's owner, Mr Bates, over a concern for welfare of the animals. When the RSPCA inspector visited the premises in Tyldesley, she discovered 19 dogs were inside - a litter of 13 newly-born puppies, along with another six grown-up American XL bully dogs, including Poseidon.

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A welfare notice was subsequently issued to Mr Bates over the “sub-optimal” conditions in which the inspector found the dogs to be living.

Giving evidence, Mr Bates, a mobile car valeter by occupation, said he had known Mr Hogg all his life and he was more like an "older brother" to him than just a friend. He told the coroner that he had "fallen in love with" the dog breed and he had acquired dogs from both the United States and Ukraine.

He said: "I was trying to better the breed and produce show quality, champion XL bullies."

Under cross-examination by the coroner, Michael Pemberton, Mr Bates vehemently denied he was using his home – where he lived with his long-term partner Kelsey Partington – for the breeding and selling of dogs. On the night of the attack, Mr Bates said Mr Hogg had offered to take the two dogs, Poseidon and Pandora, to the yard. He added: "There's not a minute when I don't think about what's happened. I still miss Johnny, it doesn't seem real."

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At the time of the incident last year, there was no legislation around American XL bullies. However, following this incident and others where these type of dogs have attacked and even killed some people, they are now a banned breed under dangerous dogs legislation.

Following the attack, Mr Bates was arrested and a criminal investigation was launched but no further action was taken by police. The dog itself was destroyed shortly after the attack. A post-mortem examination carried out on Mr Hogg gave the cause of death as head and neck injuries as a result of dog bites.

The inquest was attended by Mr Hogg’s dad Allan, brother Ian and son Dylan. The coroner, Michael Pemberton, said: “It’s clear Johnny was a much-loved father, brother and son who will be missed terribly following the unexpected events of that evening. This is a stark reminder that however people may be familiar with animals, things can change very rapidly. Johnny was in an environment he was familiar with and one he chose to be in.”

He returned a narrative conclusion, saying Mr Hogg died as a result of an unforeseen, unexpected and sustained attack by an American XL bully-type dog. He suffered serious injuries which were unsurvivable.

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