Stay of execution for terrier that mauled two people and a dog

Ipswich Crown Court

Ipswich Crown Court - Credit: Archant

A Staffordshire bull terrier that bit two people while it was being walked off the lead in Ipswich by its 75-year-old owner has been granted a stay of execution after a court overturned an order that it should be put down.

The five-year-old dog called Lennon was with his owner James Messanger in a wooded area at Badgers Bank near Belstead Road at lunchtime on October 10 last year when the attacks happened, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Maureen Lewis was walking her neighbour’s mongrel when she saw Lennon and shouted to Messanger to put his dog on a lead.

Lennon had then run over to Mrs Lewis’s dog and took hold of it by its head.

Mrs Lewis started shouting and attempted to get Lennon off her dog. “She was screaming so loudly it brought out workers at a nearby BT depot,” said Claire Watson, prosecuting.

Adrian Page, one of the BT workers, ran over and grabbed hold of a walking stick and used it to prise Lennon’s teeth off the dog’s head.

Lennon had then bit Mrs Lewis causing three puncture wounds on her hand and four more on her forearm.

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Mr Page attempted to get the dog off Mrs Lewis and was bitten on the hand and suffered ten puncture wounds.

Messanger tried to pull the dog away by its rear legs and had then left the scene. He was traced after a witness followed him and obtained his details, said Miss Watson.

She said the other dog had suffered bite marks as a result of the attack.

Messanger, of Cambridge Drive, Ipswich, admitted two offences of being the owner of a dog that was dangerously out of control and caused injury when he appeared before town magistrates in February.

On that occasion he was given a conditional discharge for 24 months and ordered to pay £200 compensation to Mr Page and £120 to Mrs Lewis. The court also ordered that Lennon should be destroyed.

Last week Messanger successfully appealed against the destruction order.

Judge John Devaux, who was sitting with two magistrates, instead imposed a contingent destruction order, which would not be implemented as long as Messanger kept the dog muzzled and on lead no longer than five feet when it was out for a walk.

Neil Saunders for Messanger said Lennon had continued living with his client since the incident.

He now walked the dog on a lead and there had been no further trouble.

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