Five-year-old girl needed eight stitches to her face after being bitten by dog in street
A five-year-old child had to have eight stitches to her face after being bitten by a dog in a Sunderland street.
A court heard how the youngster approached the elderly German shepherd, which was tied up outside shops in Houghton's Newbottle Street.
The 10-year-old dog, which is going blind, reacted by snapping at the youngster.
John Charles Louis, 65, of Houghton's Otterburn Crescent, pleaded guilty at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court to being the owner of a dog which was dangerously out of control when the incident happened in June this year.
Glenda Beck, prosecuting, said a witness described seeing the dog tied to railings and lying on the floor.
She said: "The little girl asked to stroke the dog and her mum said no. The little girl approached the dog on the right hand side and the dog jumped up and bit her in the face.
"Her mum took her to hospital and she had injuries of a bite mark to her nose. She had six external stitches and two internal stitches.
"The child's mum confirmed there was no dog owner on site. The witness said she went into several shops and couldn't find the owner."
Ms Beck said Louis was spoken to by police and confirmed he was the owner of the dog and he had tied him up while he went into B&Ms to do some shopping.
She said: "He explained the dog is 10-years-old and has trouble with his hips. He has never shown any aggression in the past.
"He said he felt sorry for the child."
Mr Louis, was not represented in court.
District Judge, Gary Garland, said: "This is an unfortunate event, not motivated by anybody to happen. But, the fault is you have tied the dog up in the street and went off to do your shopping.
"Children are generally inquisitive and think all dogs are cuddly, but we all well know they are not cuddly."
The judge said even dogs who are not aggressive have the proclivity to snap.
He said: "The dog wasn't actively going after someone, the problem has come to the dog."
Louis was fined £200 and ordered to pay costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £30. He was also ordered to pay £200 compensation to the child. He was also given an order to keep the dog under proper control.