Danger dog owner avoids prison term

A woman who was warned she faced jail after her three Staffordshire bull terriers savaged a husky as a horrified crowd tried to save it has walked free from court.

Danger dog owner avoids prison term

A woman who was warned she faced jail after her three Staffordshire bull terriers savaged a husky as a horrified crowd tried to save it has walked free from court.

Denise Duggins broke down in tears as magistrates in Wolverhampton suspended a six-week prison term and banned her from keeping animals for five years after hearing how the husky had to be put down.

The court was told that Margaret Bates, aged 57, was walking her pet Sky in Wrekin Drive, Merry Hill, when the bull terriers bolted from Duggins' house and started mauling it.

The nine-year-old Siberian husky's injuries were so bad it was put down two days after the attack.

Tests revealed it had suffered nerve and tissue damage to every one of its limbs, Wolverhampton Magistrates Court heard yesterday.

Duggins, aged 48, took her three dogs to be destroyed hours after the attack, on October 23 last year.

Mr Martin McNamara, defending, said: "I have never heard of anyone doing that voluntarily before."

The court heard that Duggins, who pleaded guilty to owning three dogs dangerously out of control in a public place, was among 10 people who desperately tried to fight off the terriers.

One resident began striking the dogs with a garden spade.

Mr Kully Khaira, prosecuting, said Mrs Bates, of Marnel Drive, had been "traumatised" by the circumstances of her beloved dog's death.

Mr McNamara handed to the court 25 letters from friends and neighbours in support of Duggins, who had been a "responsible dog owner" for more than a decade.

Magistrate Mr Roger Cheshire said the attack was "very nasty and extremely regrettable".

Turning to Mrs Bates, he said: "We are extremely sorry about this incident. I have kept dogs myself and I am an animal lover but we have seen Mrs Duggins' remorse."

Duggins was ordered to complete a two-week curfew order starting on April 4 and to pay £750 in compensation to Mrs Bates, who forked out more than £3,000 in vet bills to try to save Sky.

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