• Kyodo

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A 64-year-old man whose fighting dog bit and wounded passersby in three separate attacks after it was unleashed for “training” along a river here, was handed a suspended three-year prison term Tuesday.

The Nagoya District Court also ordered the seizure of the 2-year-old American Staffordshire terrier owned by the accused, Izumi Matsubara.

According to the court, Matsubara unleashed the muscular dog, measuring about 1 meter from head to tail, on several occasions as he walked it along the banks of the Shonai River in Nagoya’s Naka Ward from January to March.

During that period, the dog attacked and bit three male passersby on the riverbank, seriously injuring one.

The Nagoya District Public Prosecutor’s Office charged Matsubara with inflicting injuries, rather than negligence resulting in injuries, determining that the accused was aware the dog posed a danger if set loose.

“I thought I could settle grievances over injuries (caused by the dog) by paying money (to the victims),” Matsubara was quoted by prosecutors as telling investigators.

During court proceedings, prosecutors cited several other previous cases in which Matsubara’s dog had attacked passersby and other people’s pet dogs.

“The acts of the accused are self-centered and caused fear among the victims,” presiding Judge Toyoshige Numari said, noting that Matsubara ignored warnings from a local public health center and set the dog free for “training.”