A DOG minder who allowed two Staffordshire bull terriers to savage two ponies in a horrific attack has been hit with a £1,000 compensation order.
Katie Hampton, 10, and 11-year-old pal Rio Hall were out riding their ponies Tango and Tia in East Boldon with Katie’s mum Lyndsey Taylor and Rio’s auntie Shona Maclean, 17, when the dogs launched a vicious attack.
The children managed to dismount before the male and female dogs began the attack and took shelter in bushes.
Tia – who was pregnant at the time – had flesh ripped off after being bitten by the male dog, Diesel, and also suffered cuts to her side and eye.Tango suffered puncture wounds to his face.
The dogs, five-year-old Diesel and two-year-old Poppy, had escaped from the back yard of Amanda McCarthy’s home shortly before the attack, on May 11 of this year.
The 32-year-old, of Boldon Lane, South Shields, looked after the pets at her home, one of which was owned by her ex partner and the other by her former partner’s sister.
While she didn’t own the dogs, she accepted she was responsible for them and admitted two counts of being in charge of a dog dangerously out of control in a public place at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.
The court heard it is believed Diesel has since been put down, while Poppy is no longer cared for at McCarthy’s home. Miss Taylor, 31, of Sheridan Road, Biddick Hall, said she was happy that the case was brought to court and compensation was ordered, as the injuries to both ponies required £1,000 of vet bills – but said it should act as a warning to other dog owners.
She said: “I am glad that the case has come to court. People need to know what can happen if you are not responsible for your dog. We didn’t think anything was going to be done about it.
“People shouldn’t be allowed to get away with it.
“Tango was lucky she was able to out run the dogs and wasn’t too badly injured, but poor Tia got the brunt of it. We didn’t know she was heavily pregnant at the time.”
Lee Poppett, prosecuting, said: “The group were out walking the ponies, Tia and Tango, at about 4.15pm on a bridle path on Tile Shed Lane in East Boldon when they saw two dogs suddenly appear from behind a tree.
“Lyndsey Taylor got the children off the ponies as the dogs, a brindle-coloured dog and a white dog, ran towards them. The brindle-coloured dog jumped up to bite Tia. The dog chased Tia into a nearby farm.
“When Tia was found, she had become entangled in barbed wire and was hysterical and had to be cut free with bolt clippers.
“Tia suffered significant injuries. Flesh was ripped off her left shoulder, she had a swollen knee, cuts to her flank and her right eye. Tango had puncture wounds to his face.”
“It’s fair to say McCarthy handed herself in to police. She described how her dogs had gone missing. She had asked her son to put them in the yard but they had escaped. She had contacted the dog warden and local kennels.
“She accepted it was her responsibility to keep the dogs under control.”
Mr Poppett told magistrates they were bound to consider whether the dogs should be destroyed, though this course of action would not automatically take place if a human was not injured.
Paul Kennedy, defending, said: “She has had dogs all her life and been responsible for them as an owner since she was 18. The dogs involved in this case were Diesel, five, and Poppy, two. Diesel was never recovered and is believed to have been put down.
“She was in a relationship and the dog belonged to her ex-partner, the ownership of Diesel is with him.
“She took the dog into the family home along with Poppy, who belonged to her ex-partner’s sister.
“She accepted ownership of the dogs. She accepts they were at her property and she was responsible for them. She has a shared back yard and the gate takes a lot of force to shut.
“She heard about the incident in the press and believed it may have been her dogs involved. She handed herself in to police and voluntarily attended the police station.
“She has been a responsible dog owner and a responsible lady.
“Disqualifying her from owning dogs would not be appropriate in this case.”
Dave Errington, chairman of the magistrates, ordered McCarthy to pay £1,000 in compensation to the victims.
McCarthy was not disqualified from owning animals in the future, while no order was made by magistrates for the destruction of the dogs.