Quebec dog owner sentenced to 4 years in prison after mauling of young girl

After he was found guilty of criminal negligence causing bodily harm, Karim Jean-Gilles has been sentenced to four years in prison. His pit bull-type dog mauled a young girl in 2015.

Karim Jean-Gilles was found guilty of criminal negligence causing bodily harm in February

In convicting Karim Jean-Gilles last month, the judge in the case suggested the sentence would be longer than the three years the Crown recommended. (Radio-Canada)

A Quebec man whose pit bull-type dog attacked and severely disfigured a young girl has been sentenced to four years in prison.

Karim Jean-Gilles was found guilty of criminal negligence causing bodily harm in February after the 2015 attack left the seven-year-old girl with severe damage to her face and cranium.

Quebec court Judge Pierre Bélisle handed down the sentence in a Longueuil courtroom Friday morning, saying that the punishment was appropriate given Jean-Gilles' disregard for others' lives.

"He knew his dogs were dangerous and didn't take any measure to ensure the safety of others," Bélisle wrote in his ruling.

In his ruling, Bélisle said it was a case of not if, but when, a tragedy would happened.

The attack occurred in Marquise Park in Brossard in September 2015, after Jean-Gilles left his two dogs in the care of his elderly mother — without leashes.

It left Vanessa Biron with skull and hand fractures, as well as a cheekbone broken in seven pieces. She underwent surgery after being bitten in the hand, neck and face.

Bernard Biron told the court his daughter, now 10, still has a large, visible scar on her face and has difficulty smiling because of the nerve damage in her face.

'Gross and extreme negligence'

The four-year sentence was reflective of the 34-year-old man's "gross and extreme negligence," said Bélisle on Friday.

Jean-Gilles sat quietly as the sentence was read out, and only spoke at the end to tell Bélisle that he planned to appeal before guards escorted him out of the courtroom.

In February, Crown attorney Claudie Gilbert said Jean-Gilles should be given a three-year prison term because of the extent of the girl's injuries, his prior criminal record and the fact he seemed to have no remorse or empathy.
Magdalena Biron and Bernard Biron leave the courtroom after Karim Jean-Gilles was found guilty of criminal negligence causing bodily harm. Their daughter Vanessa was severely mauled by his pit bull-type dog in 2015. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

At the time, Bélisle had suggested the sentence would be longer than the three years the Crown recommended.

He said he was considering a stiffer sentence and that it might be one he described as "exemplary."

"It worries me," he said. "There's a message to be sent."

The conviction of criminal negligence causing bodily harm carries a maximum 10-year prison term.

With files from Elias Abboud and Canadian Press