Dog is handed ‘suspended death sentence’ after a terrifying attack on woman

The case was heard at Sunderland Magistrates' Court.
The case was heard at Sunderland Magistrates' Court.

A dog has been handed a ‘suspended death sentence’ after a terrifying attack on a woman.

Laura Golden’s Staffordshire Bull Terrier Lucy initially went for one of the victim’s dogs before she sunk her teeth into the woman on June 24, Sunderland magistrates heard.

I have severe pain in my right leg and I’m struggling to walk

Victim

The victim, who suffered puncture wounds to her legs and buttocks and wounds on her hands, is still in pain more than four months on, the court was told.

Now, magistrates have ordered the dog is kept muzzled and on a lead in public, as part of contingent destruction order – referred to in court as a ‘suspended sentence’.

Prosecutor Laura Lax said the incident took place when the victim and her partner walked their two small dogs on a grassed area at Rickleton Village Centre, off Vigo Lane.

Miss Lax said there were members of the public, including children, present at the time.

“The witness states that a white and Staffordshire Bull Terrier appeared out of nowhere and started attacking her dogs,” she added.

“She describes the dog as extremely aggressive and one of her dogs was bitten.”

The court heard how the woman shouted out as she was attacked herself, suffering four puncture wounds to her upper right thigh, calf and buttock. She also had wounds and skin missing from both hands, and reported being in ‘severe pain’.

“This defendant appeared and made no attempts to stop the dog attacking her.

“She eventually realised what was going on and hit the dog with a dog lead and shouted at it to ‘get home’.

“The dog was not on a lead at any time.”

Golden, 24, of Rickleton Village Centre, admitted being the owner of a dog which caused injury while dangerously out of control.

The victim said in a statement, which was read out in court: “I’m completely shocked and upset by the incident.

“I didn’t expect to be attacked by a violent and aggressive dog.

“It has left me terrified and I’m too scared to walk my dogs around where I live.

“The incident occurred four months ago and I’m still experiencing adverse effects.

“I’m unable to take my child to the park and shops and I have severe pain in my right leg and I’m struggling to walk.”

Sandra Fife, defending, said Lucy had been rescued by Golden from someone who could not afford to look after her, and said the that the dog had not previously shown signs of aggression.

She said: “There is no suggestion that this could have been foreseen in relation to this particular dog.

“This is an isolated incident, there have been no previous complaints in relation to this dog.

An expert report by a vet, was also produced by the defence and Ms Fife asked that the dog would not destroyed.

“A suspended sentence for the dog is essentially what we are talking about here,” she said.

“This dog does not represent any more risk to public safety than any other well kept dog and with muzzle and a lead it will be negligible.”

The bench ordered that Lucy’s be kept muzzled and is securely held on a lead, by someone aged over 16, or she will be subject to destruction at the expense of the defendant.

Golden was also fined £120 and was told to pay £100 compensation to the victim, £43 for the vet’s fees, and £85 costs.