Birmingham & Black Country

Good Citizen award-winning dog bites woman at Crufts

A dog that bit a woman after winning a Good Citizen award at Crufts must be muzzled in public, a judge has ruled.

Louise Nelson was bitten on the hand and knee by Eddie the Akita as she tried to protect her own dog at the event in Birmingham in March last year.

At the city's magistrates' court, Lorain Ronis, from Luton, was convicted of having a dangerously out-of-control dog, which she denied, and given a 12-month community order.

Eddie must be on a lead and muzzled.

District Judge Ian Strongman, sitting at Birmingham Magistrates' Court, said Ronis, of Evedon Close, had shown "no true remorse" for what happened.

'Well-behaved and placid'

The experienced dog handler had "failed to notice the warning signs" when five-year-old Eddie went for the other animal.

The bite injuries on Ms Nelson exposed the bone, the court heard, and she later required surgery.

Mr Strongman accepted that Ms Ronis had shown an "exemplary character" towards dog training and she acknowledged the incident was partly her fault because she had had a drink after winning the award.

The court was told that a police expert assessed Eddie after the incident and found he "showed no reaction to provocation".

'Basic level'

Sentencing Ronis, Mr Strongman imposed a contingent destruction order on the pet which set out conditions under which he must be kept in public.

Eddie must be kept under the control of someone who is at least 18, kept on a lead and muzzled.

However, as Eddie was "usually well-behaved and placid" and Ronis wanted to keep showing him, he said that the muzzle could be removed when he was being judged in the ring.

A spokeswoman for Crufts said: "The dog had previously been awarded a Good Citizen Dog Scheme Bronze Award, the most basic level in the scheme, which is based on the owner's ability to keep the dog under control and well-handled according to the scheme requirements on the day the test is taken.

"Ultimately it is, of course, the owner's responsibility to keep the dog under control at all times as part on an ongoing responsibility to ensure the dog is well trained and socialised."

Ronis was ordered to pay a £60 victim surcharge and £635 costs.

A civil claim is being brought by Ms Nelson.

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