A WOMAN was attacked by a dog in front of her terrified young son after it escaped from its home.
The white German Shepherd got out when its owner Richard James, 57, left the door of his home in Penshaw View, Sulgrave, Washington, unlocked.
Sunderland magistrates heard how the gate had been accidentally left open, allowing the dog to leave the garden with two Jackawawas, also living there.
Prosecutor John McGlone said the victim had been walking her own dog along the street with her five-year-old son at 6pm on March 8, when the three dogs ran towards her and the German Shepherd leapt onto her back.
“It jumped on her back and she felt something sharp,” Mr McGlone said.
Mr James came out of his house and shouted at the dog and it slid down her back.
“Her son was extremely distressed and it took a while for him to calm down after the incident,”
The woman was left with a bruise on her back, but she was not bitten.
James, who is a full-time carer to his mother, admitted to having a dog dangerously out of control in a public place, causing injury.
Gerry Armstrong, defending, said someone delivering junk mail had left the gate open.
“The dog is extremely intelligent in that it is able to unlatch the front door,” Mr Armstrong said.
“The Jackawawas have followed. He was there in a matter of seconds. When the lady has turned her back the dog has jumped on her and it has left a red mark.”
Mr Armstrong added that James has since added security measures to ensure the dog can no longer open the door.
The court heard how James received a police caution at an earlier occasion for an incident involving the same dog, but said it had happened when vandals had taken down part of the fence and taunted the dog.
District Judge Roger Elsey, said: “This dog did not bite the lady in question and that saves it on this occasion from destruction, but clearly you are going to have to keep it under control in the future.”
James was fined £170 and was told to pay a £20 victim surcharge and £50 costs.
The judge also ordered that he keeps the dog under control, adding: “A breach of that will not only lead to further prosecution, but also to destruction of the dog.
“It must not be out without a lead in the future.”