Woman found guilty of allowing her dog to bite neighbour’s five-year-old daughter and drag her along ground

Ipswich Crown Court

Ipswich Crown Court - Credit: Archant

A woman whose dog bit her neighbours’ five-year-old daughter on the arm and dragged her along the ground has been found guilty of being the owner of a dog that caused injury while dangerously out of control.

Kristina Litvinaite-Fortuin accepted that her Alsatian/Labrador cross called Zorro had bitten the girl’s mother while she was in her garden but claimed her daughter had grazed her knees after falling over on a path outside her property as Zorro brushed past her.

Litvinaite-Fortuin, 33, of Minsmere Way, Great Cornard, denied two offences of being the owner of a dog that caused injury to Zoe and Sarah O’Mahoney while dangerously out of control in a public place in January 23 last year.

She was cleared of the offence relating to Zoe O’Mahoney but was found guilty of the offence relating to Sarah O’Mahoney.

The court heard that since the incident Zorro had been kept in kennels and sentence on Litvinaite-Fortuin was adjourned to allow an up to date report on Zorro to be obtained from the kennels to enable Judge David Goodin to decide if it was necessary to have the dog destroyed.

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He told Litvinaite-Fortuin he was not considering passing an immediate or suspended prison sentence in her case.

During the trial the court heard the attacks took place after Gary O’Mahoney and his wife Zoe went to their neighbour Litvinaite-Fortuin’s house to discuss a house swap.

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While the couple were talking to Litvinaite-Fortuin, Zorro ran out of the front door and allegedly bit Mr O’Mahoney on the ankle and then bit his wife on the thigh as she ran towards their daughter Sarah, who was waiting on a footpath.

Mrs O’Mahoney described seeing the dog grab her daughter’s wrist with its jaws and pin her to the ground before dragging her a short distance.

She said that as a result of the alleged incident she had been left with a permanent scar on her leg.

She said her daughter suffered grazes to her leg where she was dragged along the ground and bruising to her wrist where she was grabbed by the dog.

She denied that she was bitten in Litvinaite-Fortuin’s garden and not on the public footpath.

She accepted her husband had been given a police caution in March for having an air weapon in a public place following the alleged dog attack.

Giving evidence, Litvinaite-Fortuin said that Zoe O’Mahoney had been in her garden and not on a footpath outside the property when she was bitten by Zorro.

She said that during the incident Sarah O’Mahoney had started screaming and had been running towards her parents when she fell over on a footpath.

She said she saw Zorro brush past Sarah but wasn’t sure if that had caused her to fall.

She denied seeing Zorro bite Sarah’s wrist or drag her along the ground.

She claimed that after the incident Gary O’Mahoney had threatened to kill Zorro. She said she heard a neighbour tell Zoe O’Mahoney that her husband was going to shoot Zorro and Mrs O’Mahoney had asked the neighbour to go after him and stop him.

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