Sun, 29 Jul 2018
WHEN a well-known nutritionist’s dog bit a neighbour, she was shocked to receive a £7,500 demand for compensation, a court heard.
Reading magistrates were told the victim’s husband said he would refrain from reporting the matter to police if Elodie Stanley, owner of the Tibetan terrier called Simba, paid up.
Because her pet has stunted teeth and a severely overshot jaw, victim Phillipa Mohindra was said to have received only bruising.
But on Thursday, July 19, Ms Stanley, who lives in Chieveley High Street, admitted being in charge of a dangerously out of control dog.
Ben May, prosecuting, said Ms Mohindra was walking her own dachshund on September 11 last year when Ms Stanley’s two dogs ran out of their garden, barking at her.
Simba then bit her twice on the leg, the court heard.
Mr May added: “She was screaming: ‘The dog’s biting me, get it off,’ and trying to shake her leg free.
“The gardener then appeared and shouted at the dogs and they returned inside.”
Ms Mohindra suffered bruising and reddening to her leg and received a precautionary tetanus vaccination, magistrates were told.
Andrew Storch, defending, said the dog had never been aggressive to people before and added: “Simba has a very overshot jaw and stunted canines, so if he did bite in anger he couldn’t break the skin or hang on.”
He said his client had taken precautions such as installing an electric cable which gave the dogs a mild shock if they tried to leave the walled and gated premises, but added that on this occasion it had been faulty.
Mr Storch said Ms Stanley had written a letter of apology to her neighbour and offered to pay compensation.
But he added: “Ms Mohindra’s husband asked for £7,500 damages – she felt that was trying it on a bit.
“He said: ‘If you pay me I won’t go to the police.’”
In the end, said Mr Storch, Ms Mohindra received £2,300 as an insurance payout for pain, distress and loss of earnings.
After retiring to confer, magistrates fined Ms Stanley £440 and ordered her to pay £85 costs, plus a statutory victim services surcharge of £44.
The court also had the power to order the dog to be destroyed.
Instead, magistrates made a contingency destruction order for Simba.
Under the terms of the order, Simba must be muzzled in public, but will not be destroyed unless he bites a person again.