A dog bit a child's head and face, leaving her crying and needing medical treatment during a visit to a riding school, a court heard.

The Italian Spinone named Dudley now faces possible destruction after owner Alison Noble, 50, appeared before magistrates in Carlisle.

Noble, of Skirsgill Lane, Penrith, admitted being the owner of a dog dangerously out of control.

The court heard how there were six dog wandering around the horse riding school and stables - and there had not been any problems previously.

Pam Ward, prosecuting, said on November 12 of last year a family visited the riding school at about midday.

She said that while looking around one of the dogs came up towards the family and the young girl started to stroke Dudley along its back, with no problems.

Then the dog jumped on the young child’s chest and she fell back, the court heard.

The dog bit her head and then bit her face.

On behalf of Noble, David Chant said she runs the riding school and had never had a problem before with the dogs.

They roam around the riding school and are said to be sweet-natured with a good temperament with the public.

The court was told that since the incident Ms Noble has spent more than £900 installing a fence and gate to make sure the dogs did not get out among the public.

The court was also told the grandparents of the little girl and the family do not want the dog to be put down.

The defence lawyer handed to the magistrates a "raft" of character references on the dog's behalf, mostly saying he is a loveable and quiet dog and this incident was completely out of character.

Noble was given a one-year community order, with one requirement to undertake 120-hours of unpaid work in the community.

She has to pay £170 in court costs.

Noble was told the case would be adjourned until July 25, when consideration of a dog destruction will be made.

A report by a dog behavioural expert is likely to be given to the sentencing court.