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Staffordshire bull terrier ordered to be destroyed after attack in Pinewood, Ipswich

PUBLISHED: 18:42 19 December 2017 | UPDATED: 19:57 19 December 2017

Stock image of area of Pinewood in Ipswich where the dog attack took place. Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

Stock image of area of Pinewood in Ipswich where the dog attack took place. Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

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An Ipswich pet owner broke down in court as magistrates ordered the destruction of her Staffordshire bull terrier which attacked a young army engineer and his dog.

Mother-of-five Tanya Shackleton, 29, allowed her Staffordshire bull terrier, Hooch, to escape from her home in Boatman Close, Pinewood, before the attack.

Scott Ratcliffe, 24, an aircraft engineer who now fears he may be medically discharged, was on his driveway in Clearwing Close, walking his German Shepherd, Cobra, when he saw Hooch running across the road, Ipswich magistrates’ court was told.

Mr Ratcliffe saw Hooch “sink his teeth” in Cobra’s back “two or three times”, prosecutor Colett Harper, reading from his victim statement, told the court.

“Cobra shook his head violently and bit (Hooch’s) leg,” Mrs Harper said. Mr Ratcliffe intervened and was bitten on his dominant left hand, and again deeper for “10 to 15 seconds”. Hooch then ran back.

Mr Ratcliffe’s knuckles were “crushed” and he underwent hospital surgery. He may never regain full control of his hand and may suffer from early onset of arthritis, the court was told.

The incident has had a “massive effect” on his life, the court heard.

Reading from his statement, Mrs Harper said: “My wife is driving me to meetings, putting on my toothpaste, and helping me get dressed. I’m grateful it was me and not my wife, or a child.”

The attack took place at 8.15pm on June 18 this year.

Shackleton, who has no previous convictions, had previously pleaded guilty to being in charge of a dog dangerously out of control causing injury.

Hooch had also escaped in February this year and attacked another dog, the court was told.

In mitigation, Claire Lockwood said Hooch “is not a danger to public safety”.

She said Shackleton was “very shocked” at the incident, and said Hooch had escaped from an open window which was usually closed, due to a “nappy accident”. Her husband was away, and she did not witness the incident.

Mrs Lockwood asked for Hooch to be muzzled and put on a lead for all future walks.

Magistrates ruled that Hooch was a dangerous dog, causing “severe” injuries in this attack, and made an order for Hooch to be destroyed in 21 days.

Shackleton wept in the dock as the order was made. She was told to pay a fine of £150, £115 costs, and £100 towards a phone damaged in the attack.

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