‘Heartbroken’ family put pet down after ‘sad and traumatic’ dog attack

Court news.
Court news.

A ‘heartbroken’ family put their dog down after it attacked a woman who was walking her own pet with her grandchild.

Boston Magistrates’ Court was told how Sarah Skinner, 45, of Church Lane, Wrangle, had written to the victim Christine Bishop to apologise for the attack in July.

Reading from a statement by Mrs Bishop, prosecutor Marie Stace, told the court that the victim had been walking her dog with her grandchild on Church Lane when she noticed Skinner’s dog, a cross Patterdale Terrier, in the garden.

She described how the dog ‘flew’ towards her and her dog, a small Bichon Frise, breaking through the fence, attacking the victim’s pet.

Mrs Stace read: “I shouted get off, get off.”

Skinner then appeared at her door with a dog toy, unsuccessfully trying to call the dog back.

Mrs Stace continued: “I moved to grab my dog but as I did my dog squealed in pain.”

As Skinner came to get the dog, Mrs Stace described how it jumped up at Mrs Bishop who tried to defend herself with her right hand.

The court was told the dog then began to circle the pushchair with Mrs Bishop’s grandson in before Skinner got hold of the dog and got it away. She then returned and spoke to Mrs Bishop, putting her arm around her.

Mrs Bishop suffered damage to seven layers of skin, and her dog was also injured during the attack and had to be treated by a vet.

Mrs Stace said Skinner later sent a letter of apology to Mrs Bishop, stating that she was shocked by how her dog behaved and that she had never seen it like that before.

She said the family had taken the decision to have the dog ‘destroyed’ and described how they were ‘heartbroken’.

The dog had been bought for Skinner’s daughter two years ago when she was 14, during a difficult period.

In the letter Skinner said: “My daughter has lost her best friend, but she understands the severity of events.”

Defending, Mike Alexander said the family had had no problems in the two years they had had the dog and said the fence had been secure. He added the dog used to sleep in the daughter’s bed.

On Wednesday, magistrates ordered Skinner to pay £300 compensation, a £140 fine, £85 costs and £20 victim surcharge. Chairman Malcolm Hall called the incident a ‘sad and traumatic’ case for all involved.