Bulldog breeder accused of failing to stop attack which left walker injured and his dog badly mauled

Stephen Potts arrives at Durham Crown Court, where he is charged with seven counts of being in charge of dangerously out of control dogs.
Stephen Potts arrives at Durham Crown Court, where he is charged with seven counts of being in charge of dangerously out of control dogs.

A bulldog breeder who had his arm savagely torn off by his own dogs was unable to stop them attacking another dog walker just weeks after his release from hospital, a court heard today.

Stephen Potts, of Low Pittington, Durham, denies multiple charges of owning dangerously out of control dogs after they reportedly set upon a 63-year-old man.

There came a point when Zumo was ripped out of his grasp by four or five dogs, and his dog was very badly mauled.

Shaun Dryden, prosecuting

In total the 48-year-old faces seven charges relating to his pets Buster, Frosty, Tara, Gypsy, Bessie, Blue and Tammy.

Patricia Ayre, 66, from Sedgefield, also denies the same charges after the alleged attack on dog walker Lindsay Edwards and his pet Staffordshire bull terrier Zuma.

Durham Crown Court heard Potts is a breeder of American bulldogs who were described as “large chunky animals” that weighed between 30-60kg.

Shaun Dryden, prosecuting, said it was an unusual case because prior to the incident, Mr Potts was attacked by two of his own dogs and was severely injured.

He said: “As a result of that attack he lost the use of his right arm and it had to be amputated.

“His left arm was only saved because of a number of skin grafts.”

The jury heard that following the attack, one of the dogs was shot by a police marksman and the other put down by a vet.

Then, less than three weeks after being released from hospital in October last year, he took seven of the dogs on a walk with Ayre.

Mr Edwards, 63, came across the pair as he walked Zuma, and crossed the road to avoid them.

But as he returned he realised the pack was in a field near to him and they began to run towards him until they reached a gate that stood between them.

Mr Dryden said the dogs were barking and being aggressive, and Mr Dryden picked up his dog and wedged his foot against the gate.

But one of the bulldogs bit him on the calf and they all forced their way through, eventually causing him to fall on the floor, where he was allegedly bitten on the head.

“He got to his feet to try to protect his dog from the pack. He held up Zumo above his head to keep him away from the dogs,” said Mr Dryden.

“But there came a point when Zumo was ripped out of his grasp by four or five dogs, and his dog was very badly mauled.”

Mr Edwards believed his Staffy had been killed, and he walked off “in a daze, petrified and limping” and bleeding from his head.

In fact, Zuma survived the attack, but suffered multiple bite wounds all over his body.

As the attack took place, the court heard Mr Potts had been on the phone and was heard saying afterwards “Pat, we are going to have to lie about this.”

Potts and Ayre were arrested, and during police interview he claimed Mr Edwards had come into the field with his dog and he shouted at him to go back through the gate.

He claimed the bite to Mr Edwards had come from his own dog and that it was Zuma who was the aggressor.

He admitted he had lost control of his dogs at some point, but claimed his comment about lying was said in a panic.

The trial continues.