Dog attack leaves pet and owner injured

The owner of a bull terrier that attacked another dog before turning on its owner has admitted his pet was dangerously out of control.

Paul Thompson was on a New Year’s Day walk on a public path when a white English bull terrier called Ruby ran straight towards his dog Eddy, which was off its lead and sniffing in the grass.

Ruby, owned by Jonathan Drew, of Slough Lane, Little Cornard, clamped its mouth on the Jack Russell’s rear leg and began shaking it.

Prosecutor Mark Larkin told Chelmsford Crown Court on Thursday how Mr Thomspon attempted to free his dog but to no avail.

“Mr Thompson tried to prise open the jaws of the attacking dog but was unable to do so,” he said. “He had no other option but to begin punching the other dog.”

This action resulted in the bull terrier releasing Eddy, who ran away, but the attacking dog immediately turned its attention to Mr Thompson.

“It turned on him and bit him on the hands as he tried to restrain it,” said Mr Larkin. “Mr Thompson describes being very frightened, faced with a snarling dog.”

Drew ran up and took his three-year-old dog away but as he did so it bit Mr Thompson once more, the court heard.

Eddy’s hind legs were savaged with several puncture wounds and he suffered lameness from the attack.

Mr Thompson was left with multiple lacerations and puncture wounds to both hands and his left calf. He had to have stitches in his left palm as well as tetanus and antibiotic injections.

Contracts supervisor Drew, 45, pleaded guilty to being in charge of a dog dangerously out of control in a public place.

In mitigation, Henney Tatum said his client, who has another bull terrier called George, was devastated at what had happened and was terrified that Ruby would be ordered to be destroyed.

He said that the family had owned Ruby for about a year and she had never injured or bitten anyone or displayed any aggression. An animal behaviourist had concluded she was not a danger to public safety.

The court was also told that Drew had paid £2,500 to fence his three-acre rural property so Ruby could exercise privately.

Recorder Robin Knowles made a contingency destruction order ruling that Ruby must be kept on a lead at all times in public or be destroyed.

Mr Knowles said he accepted that Drew was an experienced dog owner and his family had great affection for Ruby, who had never displayed aggressive behaviour before and who was trusted around grandchildren.

“When dogs are out of control in a public place it becomes a matter of public concern,” said Mr Knowles.

Drew was fined £1,000, told to pay £340 court costs and ordered to pay Mr Thompson £500 in compensation.