A STAFFORDSHIRE bull terrier that attacked a treasured pet after escaping from its home has been granted a reprieve by magistrates.
Ronald Procter’s dog Bruno was at risk of being destroyed for the attack when it sank its teeth into the neck of a Lakeland terrier while it was out for a walk with its owner.
The bull terrier also bit the Lakeland terrier owner’s finger when she tried to wrench its jaws free from her pet.
Hartlepool magistrates considered whether to order the dog to be put down.
But they decided against it after a vet examined Bruno and considered he was no more dangerous than the average dog.
Describing the incident in Eton Street on July 24 last year, prosecutor Alan Davison said: “Two women took the Lakeland terrier down the street when the defendant’s dog ran from his house into the street and latched its teeth into the neck of the terrier causing it to squeal loudly.
“The owner managed to separate the dogs by putting her fingers between the Staffordshire bull terrier’s jaw.
“She sustained a cut to her finger in the process. The Lakeland terrier suffered two punctured wounds to its neck and was taken to a vets straight away.”
The court heard the dog was left traumatised and never recovered from the incident.
It was later put to sleep after it was found to have kidney disease, not related to the attack.
Procter, 44, admitted being the owner of a dog dangerously out of control in public and caused injury.
Neil Taylor, mitigating, said the dog got out the house when his mother visited and accidentally left the front door open.
Mr Taylor said: “As soon as he heard somebody shout he ran out and brought the dog back in.
“Since then there have been no further offences.
“This is very much regarded as a family pet.
“You can be satisfied the dog does not constitute a danger to public safety.”
Magistrates made a contingent destruction order requiring the dog to be muzzled when out in public and neutered within 28 days.
Chairman of the bench Margaret Sleeman said: “It seems to us this was an isolated incident and we note the vet’s conclusion.”
Procter, of Eton Street, was given a 12-month community order with probation and ordered to attend a six-months alcohol requirement.