Woman left in­jured af­ter dan­ger dog mauled pet

Ormskirk Advertiser - - Front Page - BY JAMIE LOPEZ

ADANGEROUS Stafford­shire bull ter­rier “thrashed” a bea­gle from side to side as its owner and her son watched in hor­ror.

The 45kg ter­rier, named Barry, then at­tacked the woman who was bat­tling to pro­tect her pet and tried to hurt an­other neigh­bour who ran to the prop­erty af­ter hear­ing her and the child scream­ing.

Pros­e­cut­ing, Lisa Wors­ley told Pre­ston Crown Court that Barry had got loose from a home in In­gle­white, Skelmers­dale, and found his way into the gar­den of neigh­bour Leanne Dunkin and then in­side her house.

Owner Gary Delves, 34, be­lieved he had locked the back door when he left the prop­erty but later con­ceded he must not have done.

Delves, now of Hall­croft, had been stay­ing with a friend at the house for a few days in 2018 and the dog had al­ready had to be re­moved from the gar­den on one oc­ca­sion.

But it re­turned on Au­gust 9 and quickly set about at­tack­ing the bea­gle.

Ms Wors­ley said: “Ms Dunkin was work­ing in her home of­fice when she heard a loud noise which sounded like chok­ing.

“She went down­stairs and saw the white ter­rier hold­ing her dog in its mouth and thrash­ing it from side to side.

“She tried to help her dog but was un­able to.”

A neigh­bour heard the “hys­ter­i­cal screams” and ran around to see what was hap­pen­ing be­fore at­tempt­ing to stop the at­tack by hit­ting the ter­rier with a broom, which snapped with­out hav­ing any effect.

She then tried to “put the broom into the dog’s anus” as she had heard this would lead to it re­leas­ing its jaws but was still un­suc­cess­ful.

Even­tu­ally, the bea­gle was let go af­ter the woman re­sorted to jump­ing on Barry’s back and she then had to hold the dog’s head still un­til it even­tu­ally calmed down in the gar­den.

Ms Dunkin had to have an op­er­a­tion on her fifth metacarpal and now has permanent dam­age to one finger.

Her son suf­fered re­cur­ring night­mares about a dog at­tack in the wake of the in­ci­dent and Ms Dunkin felt com­pelled to sleep down­stairs for 12 months in fear of a re­peat at­tack.

Their dog also suf­fered ab­dom­i­nal pain for about a month and needed vet care cost­ing £100.

Po­lice ar­rived 20 min­utes af­ter the at­tack and Delves, who has 15 pre­vi­ous con­vic­tions for 24 of­fences, ap­proached of­fi­cers to say the dog be­longed to him.

De­fend­ing, Michael Hagerty said: “He was stay­ing for a short time at that ad­dress and he be­lieved on that day he had locked the back door but ac­cepts that can’t have been the case.”

Delves pleaded guilty to own­ing a dog which was dan­ger­ously out of con­trol and caused in­jury.

Mr Hagerty added that Barry was never usu­ally ag­gres­sive to hu­mans and had helped his owner cope with per­sonal trauma in­clud­ing the death of his mother.

Sen­tenc­ing, Judge Simon Newell warned that own­ing such a “large, pow­er­ful dog” came with ex­tra re­spon­si­bil­ity.

He gave Delves a sus­pended four-month sen­tence and a three­year ban on own­ing dog. Judge Newell also or­dered that the dog be de­stroyed and said he made that de­ci­sion “with great­est re­gret”.

The case was heard at Pre­ston Crown Court

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