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Friday, 19 December 2014

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Dog that attacked woman has life spared by Carlisle court

A family whose tiny dog faced a possible death sentence breathed a sigh of relief after a court ruled that their pet is not dangerous.

At just 18 inches high, Rosie the Jackahuahua – a Jack Russell Chihuahua cross – is not the most daunting dog ever to come before the courts.

But the mutt landed her owner Karen Ann Oxley before magistrates after nipping the ankles of a woman outside a primary school near Penrith.

After the attack last September, Ms Oxley, a mum-of-two, admitted being the owner of a dog that was “dangerously out of control” in a public place.

She was back in court yesterday to plead for Rosie’s life because magistrates are obliged to order the destruction of any dog that is deemed to be dangerous.

Prosecutor Adrienne Harris told the court how a woman had just dropped her daughter off at Plumpton Primary School on a morning last September when he Jackahuahua went for her. She suffered a bruised leg and torn trousers.

Ms Oxley had already been asked to keep the dog away from the school after a biting incident elsewhere on an earlier occasion, though the prosecutor added that neither the Crown Prosecution Service nor the police had concluded that Rosie was a danger to the public.

Tariq Khawam, for Ms Oxley, said a dog behaviour expert who investigated Rosie had concluded she was not dangerous – calling her “wonderful”.

“He has described what the dog was doing as [resulting] from fear,” he said.

At the time of the attack, said the solicitor, Ms Oxley had tried to use a muzzle on Rosie but the dog refused to go anywhere wearing it. That has now changed.

On the day Rosie attacked the woman, Ms Oxley had briefly left her with her daughter because a child had run into the road.

Magistrates ruled that Rosie should not be destroyed but said that she must:

  • Be spayed within a year;
  • Be muzzled at all times when in a public place;
  • Always be in the control of an adult;
  • Undergo behaviour modification training.

Magistrates told Ms Oxley she should be particularly vigilant with her dog in the home, adding that if she does not abide by the court’s order Rosie will be destroyed.

After the hearing, Ms Oxley, of Byrnes Close, Plumpton, whose children are aged eight and five, said: “Rosie is part of the family. She’s really good with the children.

“She was brought up around children. This experience has not been very pleasant but Rosie’s now had a lot of training and I now know some of the things we were doing haven’t helped her.

“The trainer we’re working with feels that training should be made a legal requirement for all dog owners and I agree with him.”

After the earlier hearing, Ms Oxley was fined £225 and told to pay her dog’s victim £100 compensation, as well as court costs of £85 and a £23 victim surcharge.

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