Devon

Dangerous Staffordshire dog's suspended death sentence

A Staffordshire bull terrier that attacked two people in Devon has been given a suspended destruction order.

The dog's owner, Shaun Blackmore, was ordered to pay compensation to the victims and pay their vet's bill.

Exeter Magistrates' Court was told the Staffordshire got through a hole in a fence at his owner's farm in Oakfordbridge, near Bampton, in March.

Blackmore, 47, admitted allowing the dog to be dangerously out of control in a public place and causing injury.

'Awful moment'

The attack, in March, happened when the Staffordshire, named Reg, saw a King Charles spaniel being walked on a public road by Samantha Colley and Alex Emmott.

When the "territorial" bull terrier attacked the spaniel, the couple were injured and suffered bite wounds as they picked up their dog to protect it.

The victims said the attack lasted 15 minutes - but Blackmore, who had been having a shower in his farmhouse when he heard shouting and screaming, said it was nearer to five minutes.

Mr Emmott said the incident had left him "traumatised and in agony", while Miss Colley was left feeling "terrorised".

Blackmore said Reg had been examined by animal behaviourists who said he had "a superb temperament and was an excellent ambassador for his breed".

District Judge Paul Farmer ordered that Reg should be muzzled and put on a lead if he is taken out of his farm home and should be muzzled if he leaves the enclosed quarter of an acre area where he lives.

Vet's bill

The judge said it had been an "awful moment" for the victims.

"I suspect the attack seemed a lot longer than it was," he said.

Judge Farmer said he was putting the Staffordshire under a suspended destruction order for the public's protection.

Blackmore was ordered to pay compensation of £150 to both Mr Emmott and Miss Colley.

He was also order to pay their vet's bill of £324, as well as court costs.

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