A Chippenham dog owner has been taken to court after her Jack Russells broke through her garden fence and attacked her teenage neighbour.
Sixteen-year-old Abigail Neale tried to scramble over a locked gate to get away from the two snarling dogs when they tore through the fence and came at her.
She was left with puncture marks on both legs after the intrusion in her back garden in Kingsley Road, while she was playing with her one-year-old poodle Lulu.
One of the Jack Russells, named Haydes, which must now be muzzled, made off only when Abigail’s mum, who was mopping a floor at the time, heard her screaming and ran out and swung at the dog with the mop handle.
The incident happened on May 13 this year, the day that the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 was widened to include private property as well as public spaces.
Now Jadwiga Cooper, 65, who pleaded guilty at Chippenham Magistrates’ Court last Thursday to her dog causing injury in a private place, must put a muzzle on Haydes any time he leaves the house for the next year, including to relieve himself.
She was also told to pay £250 compensation to Abigail, who had her wounds dressed at Chippenham Hospital, as well as a total of £100 court costs.
Abigail said after court she was pleased with the result. She said: “The only thing I was thinking was trying to get away. I thought, if I didn’t get Lulu higher they would have killed her.”
Her mum, Lorraine Payne, 55, said: “What if I hadn’t been home from work that day? It was a frenzied attack. I was beating them with the mop handle. I don’t know where it comes from, the adrenaline, but when it’s your kids…”
Mike Jeary, defending, said in court: “Until then the dogs had not exhibited any antisocial behaviour, this was the first time. It was the dog that was the interest, they weren’t anti the girl.
“Muzzling is excessive.”
He said Abigail, 16, was “more of an adult than a child”.
But sentencing Mrs Cooper, known as Jean, to a conditional discharge for 12 months, the chair of the bench said: “I’m sure it has been a very sobering lesson for you for your dog to get out and bite a child. She’s still a young person who will remember that for years.”