Dog owner in court after ‘out-of-control’ Alsatian bit and injured farmer

Both airmen appeared before Suffolk Magistrates Court Picture: GREGG BROWN

Both airmen appeared before Suffolk Magistrates Court Picture: GREGG BROWN - Credit: Gregg Brown

An ‘absolutely devastated’ dog owner has been ordered to pay £500 in compensation after her Alsatian sunk its teeth into a farmer’s arm.

Sandra Nagle was walking two dogs in a field near Bury St Edmunds when the attack happened on April 13 last year.

The 58-year-old appeared before Suffolk Magistrates' Court on Friday to admit being in charge of a dangerously out-of-control dog.

Prosecutor Wayne Ablett said the farmer had approached Nagle after seeing her walking the dogs while driving past one of his fields in Whepstead.

"As he walked towards her, she shouted for him to get back in the vehicle," added Mr Ablett.

"When one of the dogs ran towards him and began jumping up, he put up his left arm to protect himself, but was bitten on two or three occasions."

After managing to command the dog to return, Nagle attached leads to both dogs and apologised to the farmer, but was initially reluctant to share her details, according to the prosecution.

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The victim was taken to hospital for his injuries to be stitched and wrapped in medical dressing.

In interview, Nagle said the dog, a black Alsatian named Mister Bear, had never before acted in such a way.

David Shipman, mitigating, said Nagle was a woman of previously good character and a keeper of dogs for many years.

"She was extremely upset by the incident," he added.

"The dog had never shown any tendency of this nature.

"She had used the field to walk her dogs for 18 months since moving to the area, but didn't appreciate it was private land and thought it looked like a footpath or bridleway.

"It seems the owner had some problems with people being on the land in the past."

Mr Shipman said Nagle believed the dog had reacted in an instinctively protective way to the perceived threat of an 'aggressive' confrontation.

"She is absolutely devastated," added Mr Shipman, who presented magistrates with favourable references to the dog's temperament from family and neighbours.

Magistrates were spared having to order destruction of the dog, which had since been put down due to ill health.

Nagle was ordered to pay £500 in compensation and £145 towards the cost of prosecution.

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