Puppies to be destroyed after attack on runner

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A COURT has ordered that two dogs responsible for attacking a runner in Washington be destroyed.

Sarah Jayne Knutsen, 38, was walking the two Staffordshire bull terrier-crosses off their leads along Biddick Lane in Fatfield when they turned on Gary Addison on Saturday, October 11, knocking him to the ground.

Sunderland magistrates heard how the one-year-old dogs dragged him around as he tried to fight them off.

Prosecutor Lee Poppett said Mr Addison, 36, was shouting to Knutsen to get the dogs off him, but she just told him to calm down.

He was left bleeding from wounds to his calf, thigh, buttock and back.

Knutsen apologised, claiming the male and female dogs – said to be three quarters Staffordshire bull terrier and a quarter West Highland white terrier – had never behaved aggressively before.

Mr Addison was treated for his injuries at a nearby walk-in health centre and was put on a course of antibiotics.

In a victim impact statement read out in court, he said: “I have dogs myself, but I now feel anti-dog as a result of this attack.

“I don’t want to be the cause of any dog being destroyed, but I’m very concerned these dogs could attack a child. That’s why I contacted the police.”

Unemployed Knutsen, of Romney Avenue, Columbia, Washington, was arrested after a police appeal for information on the attack.

She admitted two counts of being in charge of a dog causing injury while dangerously out of control.

Richard Rodger, defending, said Knutsen now walks the dogs on leads and with muzzles on.

He said: “She’s had these dogs since they were puppies – in fact, they are still puppies.

“They are very, very friendly and play with the children. She looks after them very well.

“She was completely shocked at what happened that day.

“Police attended her address yesterday and were quite satisfied with these safeguards.

“She is a very responsible, remorseful person. There have been no further incidents.”

Chairman of the bench Derek Moss ordered Knutsen to pay £600 compensation to Mr Addison.

He told her he was satisfied that she was fit to look after animals, so she would not be disqualified from having dogs.

But he added: “We are concerned by the level of harm caused. We cannot be satisfied that the dogs do not constitute a danger to public safety.

“In the light of the level of behaviour and harm, we are satisfied that we must order the destruction of the dogs.”

Mr Rodger said Knutsen is planning to appeal against that decision.