Beds, Herts & Bucks

Dunstable dog owner's sentence reduced over attack

The owner of a Staffordshire bull terrier that attacked a nine-year-old girl in Bedfordshire has had his sentence reduced.

John Shallow, from Mayfield Road, Dunstable, pleaded guilty last November to owning a dog which caused injury while out of control.

He was given a 12-week prison sentence, suspended for a year.

The Court of Appeal ruled the suspended custodial term was too long and halved it to six weeks.

Pit bull suspicion

Shallow was also given 150 hours community service, ordered to pay £500 compensation to the injured girl and banned from keeping dogs for 10 years.

The appeal court heard Shallow had suspected the dog was a cross-breed with a pit bull and had tried to take it back, but the seller had refused to refund him.

He had a muzzle on the animal at the time of the attack, but it still allowed the dog to open its jaws to drink.

The victim was cycling with a friend when she came into contact with the dog and fell off her bike.

The dog, which later died from a virus, then attacked her as she lay on the ground.

Johanna Morris, for Shallow, told the judges that her client was "a man of previous good character who had kept dogs all his life".

Mr Justice Beatson, delivering the appeal court's judgement, said the suspended custodial term was too long in the circumstances.

However, he refused to overturn the 10-year ban on keeping dogs, and said: "The disqualification was justified by the failure to have a proper muzzle."

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