Homeless man avoids jail after bull terrier attack on guide dog

PUBLISHED: 17:20 10 September 2019 | UPDATED: 17:20 10 September 2019

Upper Brook Street, Ipswich.

Upper Brook Street, Ipswich.

A blind woman was left “helpless and disorientated” when a bull terrier attacked her guide dog in Ipswich town centre, a court heard.

Dyer was often seen outside Sainsbury's in Upper Brook Street, Ipswich Picture: ARCHANTDyer was often seen outside Sainsbury's in Upper Brook Street, Ipswich Picture: ARCHANT

Lisa Newson was walking in Upper Brook Street in Ipswich with her guide dog Holly on December 14, 2018, when a Staffordshire bull terrier lunged at her assistance animal.

Mark Dyer, the owner of the bull terrier called Stella, appeared before magistrates in Ipswich for sentence on Tuesday after pleading guilty to being in charge of a dog dangerously out of control.

The court heard how Miss Newson was forced to let Holly go so the guide dog could escape the bull terrier's attack.

A member of the public intervened and pulled the animals apart and Holly was unharmed.

Dyer was not present at the time of the attack as he had gone to the toilet and left his dog in care of a woman, the court heard.

The bull terrier has since been destroyed.

In a victim inpact statement read in court, Miss Newson said she was certain Holly would do "everything in her power" to protect her.

"I first felt Holly pulling me into the street and let her go," she said. "I stood helpless in the street and disorientated to my surroundings.

"I covered my eyes and cried, and did not know what to do."

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The court heard how members of the public and staff at Wilko in Upper Brook Street assisted Miss Newson.

Miss Newson added that she now walks a different route in the town centre as she is concerned Holly has been affected by the incident and will react.

Dyer, 31, of no fixed abode, was also before the court on four counts of theft from a shop, failing to attend a drug assessment and failing to comply with a community protection notice. He pleaded guilty to all charges.

On August 8, he stole a hairdryer from Boots, in Tavern Street, Ipswich, worth £23.49.

The next day he returned to the same store and stole a bottle of Wood Dsquared2 fragrance and two Oral B toothbrushes, totalling £218.98, before taking another bottle of Wood Dsquared2 fragrance and a bottle of French Connection fragrance later the same day.

He also stole washing detergent from the Food Warehouse, in London Road, Ipswich, on August 30.

Dino Barricella, defending, said: "He is apologetic for what happened on that day but he wasn't even there.

"The guide dog was not injured and he meant no ill will."

Mr Barricella added that the thefts were "crude, basic and unsophisticated" to feed a drug addiction.

In total, Dyer was sentenced to five months imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, with 35 rehabilitation activity days.

He cannot own a dog for 12 months and was also banned from entering Boots on Tavern Street for 12 months.

He was ordered to pay £250 compensation to Miss Newson, £343.46 to Boots, and £9.59 to Food Warehouse.

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