‘A dog owner’s worst nightmare’ – three-legged dog destroyed after Stevenage scooter stand-off, owner must pay compensation and vet’s bills to 77-year-old victim

Stevenage Magistrates Court

Stevenage Magistrates Court - Credit: Archant

A 77-year-old woman was injured and her Jack Russell dog mauled after being attacked by a three-legged Staffordshire bull terrier, a court heard on Monday.

Christine Allen – of Longcroft Road in Stevenage and who once helped run a dog club for 10 years –was ordered to pay £2,140.65 after her dog Munchkin attacked the Jack Russell in Martins Way on October 5 last year.

The court heard how Allen and an elderly lady were both riding mobility scooters travelling towards one another when Munchkin, which had run free although was wearing a lead, ran towards the victim’s dog and clamped its teeth around its throat.

The elderly woman tried to push open the mouth of the attacking dog but wasn’t able to, and could hear Allen trying to call her dogs back but they wouldn’t listen to her.

Two men rushed over and tried to pull Munchkin off. The police then arrived and the Jack Russell was taken to the RSPCA.

The victim suffered cuts to her hand while trying to free her dog, but it was not clear if Munchkin had bitten her. The Jack Russell needed £1,355.65 worth of treatment.

The court was told that Allen was devoted to her dogs and found Munchkin’s outburst totally out of character, but she had not hesitated in trying to protect the victim. The incident was described in mitigation as ‘a dog owner’s worst nightmare – the dogs are her life’.

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“She did all she could,” said Mr Robinson, defending. “She actually told the men to rain grievous blows on the dog’s head to try to kill it.”

When asked by the chairman of the bench Mr Balchin if he thought the incident involved ‘a vulnerable victim’, Mr Robinson said: “It’s a matter for you.”

Allen, who uses a walking stick, was warned to be extra vigilant with her other two dogs, and was told to consider muzzling them.

She was fined £200 and ordered to pay £500 compensation to the victim, £85 costs and compensation to cover the vet bill. A destruction order was issued for Munchkin, but Allen told the court that as far as she knew the dog had already been put down.

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