A beggar whose pet dog bit a man during a row on a Carlisle street has been jailed for 15 months.

Judge James Adkin also told 34-year-old Dale Graham that he would be banned from owning a dog for the next five years because he was not a fit an proper person to own one.

At an earlier hearing, Graham, of Charlotte Street, Carlisle, admitted being in charge of a dog when it caused injury while it was dangerously out of control.

The court heard that the confrontation happened late at night on April 23 last year as Graham and the woman who was then his partner sat begging near West Walls, Carlisle.

A man whom they asked for money objected to this, and berated them after refusing to hand over cash. The row escalated to the point where the woman punched the man in the face.

Graham's barrister told the court that what he did next had been inspired by a misguided sense of loyalty to his the woman, who is no longer his partner.

The defendant had approached the man with his pet, a Staffordshire bull terrier type, and it bit him.

"He accepts that what he did was wrong," said his barrister Lucy Wright. "He was acting with the best intentions of protecting his girlfriend."

She suggested that the victim had aimed a tirade of abuse at Graham and his partner over their begging.

The barrister pleaded with the judge not to ban Graham from having another dog, saying he was habitually homeless and having a dog was an important part of his lifestyle.

But Judge James Adkins told the defendant: "You asked [the victim] for money and he refused and [he] walked off towards West Walls and you followed and brought your dog with you."

The judge said the dog was used to intimidate the victim. Its bite had left the man with bruising, while he was also left struggling to see out of one eye because of the woman's punch.

He needed a week off work as a result of that injury to his face.

Noting that Graham had 138 convictions on his criminal record, Judge Adkin added: "I do not consider you a fit and proper person to have custody of a dog."