Grandparents not guilty as their dog kills baby grandchild

A court drawing of the couple in court. Illustration: Aloys Oosterwijk ANP

Grandparents whose German shepherd dog killed their grandchild have been cleared of negligence by a court in Amsterdam. 

The public prosecution department had called for a not guilty verdict and the case was brought as a private prosecution by the child’s mother against her former parents in law. 

Baby Robin, who was eight months old, was bitten to death while being looked after at his grandparents’ house in Diemen and the grandfather was in the room with the dog and baby when the incident happened.

According to court documents, the man was “less than an arm’s length” from the baby when the dog struck, biting the child so badly in the back of the head that he died in hospital two days later. The dog was put down. 

The court case centred on whether the grandparents could have predicted the dog would attack. They said there had never been any incidents between the child and the dog and they could not have known that the dog would react as it did. 

The court concluded that the grandparents had run a risk by having the dog and child in the same room, and a dog behavioural expert said during the hearing that past behaviour was no guarantee for the future. 

However, they could not have foreseen that the dog would attack the child and were therefore not guilty of any criminal offence the court said, ruling the incident a fatal accident. 

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