Wed, 11 Oct 2017
A CHADDLEWORTH woman whose German shepherd sank its teeth into the backside of another dog owner has been fined and ordered to pay compensation.
Despite having attended a Lambourn Valley dog training class, it was the second time the five-year-old pet named Jake had bitten someone in the street, Reading magistrates heard.
In the dock on Wednesday, September 27, was Jake’s 68-year-old owner, Susan Breakspear of Norris Lane.
Helen Gambrill, prosecuting, said that police had ordered Mrs Breakspear to keep the animal muzzled in public at all times following an incident in March in which it attacked a cyclist and bit him on the calf.
But on July 1, the court heard, she took Jake out for a walk without muzzling him.
Ms Gambrill said: “Another dog owner, Louise Odling, was walking her own dog when the defendant’s German shepherd pulled her across the road and bit the complainant on the right buttock, causing four puncture wounds and extensive bruising.”
Photographs of Ms Odling’s injuries were shown to magistrates and, in a victim impact statement, she related how the pain had kept her awake at nights for weeks.
She had to make repeated visits to her GP when the wounds did not heal properly, the court heard.
Mrs Breakspear admitted owning a dog that was dangerously out of control.
Mike Davis, defending, said of his client that she had “never been in any sort of trouble before” and that she had immediately made “full and frank admissions” to police.
He explained that Mrs Breakspear and her husband had owned several German shepherds before with no problem, but that these had all been brought up from puppyhood.
Jake, on the other hand, had been five years old when they acquired him.
Mr Davis went on: “Jake had attended dog training at a nearby village and no problems had been flagged up.”
He said that, despite having been ordered to keep Jake muzzled following the first incident, Mrs Breakspear decided to take him for a walk on the day in question and, because “Chaddleworth is a sleepy village, and it was 9am on a Saturday morning”, she dispensed with the device.
The court heard that Mrs Breakspear had immediately accepted responsibility and apologised to Ms Odling.
The Breakspears had Jake destroyed that same day, said Mr Davis.
He added: “Often in cases such as this, the fate of the offending dog is an issue, but that is not the case here as it is no longer around. Mr and Mrs Breakspear acted quickly.”
After retiring to confer, magistrates described the dog’s actions as “quite ferocious” and said they sympathised with Ms Odling’s “ordeal”.
They fined Mrs Breakspear £285 and ordered her to pay £85 costs plus a statutory victim services surcharge of £30.
In addition, they ordered her to pay Ms Odling £100 in compensation.