MAGISTRATES spared the lives of two Staffordshire bull terriers which savaged another dog and injured a man.
Rebecca Saint of Ermine Street, Ancaster, admitted a charge of allowing a dog to be dangerously out of control in a public place.
The court heard how her two Staffordshire bull terriers, described by their owner as “soft”, escaped from the back yard and attacked another dog being walked by a man in Waterwell Lane, Ancaster.
Daniel Paulson, prosecuting, told the court the attacked dog suffered puncture wounds and “deep, penetrating wounds to the stomach”.
The injuries suffered required extensive treatment, with the vet’s bill running to £900.
The owner of the attacked dog suffered cuts and grazes to his hand from his attempts to pull the bull terriers from his own pet.
Mr Paulson said that in interview Saint said the dogs must have escaped through an open gate. She added that her dogs must have wanted to play with the other dog but became aggressive when it growled.
Giles Tyas, defending, said there were no previous reports of the dogs being aggressive with people or other animals, adding that Saint is “generally a responsible dog owner”.
Mr Tyas said Saint made an immediate offer to pay the victim’s vet’s bills at a rate of £30 a fortnight.
He added: “For someone on benefits and whose partner is on benefits, it is quite a high offer.
“The vet’s bill of £900 is a small fortune to someone on benefits.”
Mr Tyas said that Saint always keeps the dogs on a lead when she takes them out, but her partner sometimes allows them off the lead when he takes them to the park.
Magistrates had the power to order at least one of the dogs be destroyed. However, they decided not to take such action.
Chair of magistrates Graham Harman said: “I must say that I think it was just fortunate no children were around or this could have been far, far more serious.”
Saint was given a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay compensation of £900 for the vet bills and £100 for the injuries to the man.
She was spared costs because of her limited means.
Magistrates also imposed a dog control order. The order means that when the dogs are out in public they must be kept on leads and be muzzled at all times.
Saint must also ensure the back yard is properly secured at all times.