A dangerous ‘fighting dog’ will be put down after an attack in Camberley left another dog blind in both eyes, while its walker has been jailed.
Lee Ainger, 20, of Deepcut Bridge Road, Deepcut – who was walking the pitbull-type dog called Scrappy in London Road Recreation Ground on March 16 – was said to have punched it as he tried to stop it attacking a small pug named William.
He and his father, Brett Nicholas, 39, of Upper College Ride, Camberley – who Scrappy belongs to – both admitted a charge of possessing a fighting dog, with Ainger also pleading guilty to being in charge of an out-of-control dangerous dog.
Ainger, who also admitted one charge of theft from a shop, one of failing to appear at court for an earlier hearing and one of breaching a suspended sentence after a previous theft matter, was jailed for a total of 14 weeks at Guildford Magistrates’ Court on Thursday (August 7).
Nicholas was fined £250 and told to pay the owners of the pug £300 compensation, but he was not disqualified from owning dogs after the court heard he had taken precautions to be responsible with Scrappy.
The dog, which is not classed as a pitbull but has the characteristics of one, always wore a muzzle and was kept on a lead when out for walks and was in a pen in the garden of the family’s home.
‘Absolute upmost to intervene’
However, when Ainger was told to take Scrappy for a walk in March, he removed the muzzle and lead to allow him to chase a ball.
Matthew Vincent, defending Ainger, said his client “literally took his eyes off the dog for a second” while he rolled a cigarette, only to look back to see it hurtling towards William who was also being walked in the park.
“He did his absolute upmost to intervene,” said Mr Vincent. “He actually punched Scrappy to try and get him to let go of the other dog, at some risk to himself.”
The court heard that William, who was already blind in one eye, was picked up by the neck and left with puncture wounds to his cheek and throat.
Mr Vincent said Ainger’s theft offence was an “unsophisticated” shoplifting of a bottle of Jack Daniels from Sainsbury’s in Camberley on April 23.
His 14-week custodial sentence consisted of 10 weeks activated from the suspended sentence for theft from a dwelling, handed down in the same court on May 1 last year, plus two weeks for each of the counts relating to the dog attack.
Ordering that Scrappy be destroyed after long deliberations, chairman of the bench Richard Huckle said to Nicholas: “We believe it is a threat to public safety.
“Despite your steps to control him, the dog was subsequently released by your son and, despite efforts to get Scrappy off the dog that was attacked, it held on, causing serious injuries.”
Steve Hudson, defending Nicholas, said his client would be appealing against the decision.