Dog that bit woman saved from being put down by magistrates

A DOG which attacked somebody after escaping from its home in Swineshead has narrowly escaped being put down, after magistrates decided it was not a danger to the public.

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier, which is owned by Swineshead couple Lisa and Matthew Watson, bit Karen Moses on the elbow when she was walking her dog on Station Road on March 27.

She needed several stitches after the attack, which has left her nervous around dogs, Boston Magistrates’ Court was told.

David Lee, defending, said the animal, which is named Ike, had gone to attack Ms Moses’ dog but missed and ended up biting the owner, in what he referred to as ‘a complete one off’.

Mr and Mrs Watson, of High Street, Swineshead, both pleaded guilty to allowing the dog to be dangerously out of control in a public place and causing injury when they appeared in court on Wednesday.

Jim Clare, prosecuting, said Mrs Watson had stopped Ms Moses to ask if she had seen Ike, who had escaped that morning. As they were talking, the dog appeared.

Reading from Ms Moses’ statement, Mr Clare added: “I called to the dog, but as it got nearer, I noticed how tense it looked. I immediately felt worried and scared. I shouted ‘please don’t let it bite my dog’”.

He said she picked up her dog and closed her eyes, and the next thing she knew, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier had bitten her.

According to legislation, when a dog injures a person magistrates must order its destruction, unless they are convinced that it should not be considered a danger to public safety.

Mitigating, Mr Lee said the dog could not be considered a danger to the public, as this was the first time anything of this nature had happened.

He told the bench: “It has a history of escaping approximately once a fortnight and they have taken measures to stop that. Since the incident the Watsons have increased these measures to ensure that this doesn’t happen. Since the incident, there has been no instances of it escaping.

“This incident was totally out of character as far as this dog is concerned. It was entirely an act of nature and completely one off.”

Following lengthy deliberation, magistrates decided the dog was not a risk to public safety.

However, they imposed a conditional destruction order, which means that the dog may still be put down if not kept under control.

Both Lisa, 37, and Matthew Watson, 39, have been given a two-year conditional discharge, and ordered to pay £100 each in compensation.

They also have to ensure that the dog is kept on a lead and muzzled whenever it is out in public.