Tyne & Wear

Public meeting after County Durham dog attack

A public meeting has been held in a bid to reassure residents concerned about two dog attacks in County Durham.

During the incident in the Belmont area on Wednesday, a 63-year-old man suffered serious bite injuries.

Dog breeder Stephen Potts, 48, who had his arm amputated after he was mauled by his American Bulldogs in September, was arrested and has now been bailed.

Durham Police said: "Clearly questions are being asked about this man's ability to control his animals."

Parish councillors and the police attended a meeting of residents at Pittington Village Hall following the attack on Wednesday.

Mr Potts and a female friend were walking five dogs on fields when fighting began between their dogs and a Staffordshire bull terrier being walked by another man, who was then badly bitten on his head and leg.

Dogs seized

He was taken to hospital where his condition is described as serious but not life-threatening.

Mr Potts was arrested on suspicion of failing to keep his dogs under proper control.

His dogs - which are not classed as dangerous under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 - have been seized.

Ch Insp Andy Huddleston, of Durham Police, said investigations were under way.

He said: "I can confirm the 48-year-old man owns 14 American bulldogs and although only five were involved in this incident all 14 have been taken to local kennels as a safety precaution.

"I would like to reassure people that all available options will be considered."

Under new rules which came into force on Monday, pet owners face fines of up to £20,000 if they fail to take steps preventing dog attacks, and authorities will be able to demand owners be trained and keep a muzzle on their dogs.

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