Five American Bulldogs being walked by their owner who lost an arm when he was mauled last month were not on leads when they seriously injured a dog walker, police have said.
Breeder Stephen Potts, 48, was arrested on suspicion of having dogs that were dangerously out of control after a 63-year-old was bitten on the head and leg in the Belmont area of Durham yesterday afternoon.
He was due to undergo plastic surgery today. His Staffordshire Bull Terrier, which was involved in a fight with the American Bulldogs, was in a poorly condition and may not survive. The Staffie owner was attacked when he tried to pull his dog out of the fight, police said.
Also injured was a woman in her 60s, a friend of Mr Potts, who was walking his five dogs with him on an area of open land. She was bitten on the calf.
Initial reports said six dogs were involved and three people were hurt, but police have revised those figures.
Chief Inspector Andy Huddlestone said: “We are still establishing at what point the animals were or were not on leads, but at the time the incident has taken place, they weren’t on leads and that is when they set about this member of the public who had been trying to protect his dog.”
The exact details of what happened are still under investigation, but all 14 of the American Bulldogs living in a compound behind his home in Pittington have been removed, the officer said.
“There is no risk at all to the local community of these animals being out on the loose or escaping,” he said.
“In due course there will be a decision made as to what happens with these animals.”
Mr Potts, who was freed on bail last night, had only just been discharged from hospital after the vicious attack last month when he was walking two of his American Bulldogs.
People came out of their houses to save him as he was dragged around, with people hitting the dogs with bats, golf clubs and umbrellas in a vain effort to make them stop.
One dog was shot by a police marksman while the other was put down later.
Mr Potts had one arm amputated and the other was only saved after surgery.
Mr Huddlestone said: “One of the lines of the investigation is, was that person in control of those animals?
“Was it reasonable to expect he would be in control of them having lost and arm and recently come out of hospital?
“While the dogs are not classified under the Dangerous Dogs Act, was it feasible that he could control them?”
County councillor Stephen Guy said he felt “pure disbelief” when he heard of the second incident involving the American Bulldogs.
He said: “I’m glad to say all the dogs have been taken under control and are in kennels so in my view there is no issue of community safety in the immediate future.”