Dangerous dog to be destroyed for attack in Harworth

Mansfield Magistrates Court
Mansfield Magistrates Court

A Bassetlaw man’s dog which savaged and killed a smaller dog seven years after it was threatened with destruction for injuring another dog will be put down, a court has ordered.

Robert Spencer’s large Rhodesian Ridgeback American Bulldog cross, named Buster, attacked the smaller dog on Bracken Way, Howarth, at 9.30am, on January 9.

A passing van driver helped the little dog’s owner get Buster off, but the smaller dog later died, said prosecutor Emma Heath-Tilford.

Both men were fearful of Buster during the attack, she added.

In a statement, the owner of the smaller dog said “for the first two to three weeks after the incident he was struggling to sleep” and was “nervous about what happened and is nervous about the dog getting out again.”

The owner paid £220 to adopt the dog from a rescue centre, as well as a £40 cremation fee, added Ms Heath-Tilford.

The court heard that Buster, aged seven, was made subject to a contingent destruction order seven years ago, which demands it be kept under “proper control at all times” and has to be muzzled and on a lead when in public.

When interviewed by police, Spencer said he thought the dog had escaped from his back garden after a neighbour accidentally left the gate open.

Treve Lander, mitigating, said: “He has complied with the order since it was put in place. He is a retired man and is clearly very fond of his dog.”

He said the family next door have children who keep rabbits that escaped into his garden, and the girls often came in to retrieve them.

“Mr Spencer thinks the girls went into the garden the night before and left via the gate leaving it insecure,” said Mr Lander.

“In the morning he let Buster out into the garden. It is certainly not deliberate. He is distraught about what has happened.

“He would very much not want the dog to be destroyed. There is good evidence that as far as human beings are concerned there is no danger.

“The previous incident is that a dog came on to his property and it was injured. Again it was not to do with humans. That has not happened for seven years.”

Mr Lander applied for the case to be adjourned so a dog behavioural specialist could assess how dangerous Buster is.

“This is one blip in an otherwise perfect performance by Mr Spencer,” he said.

Spencer, 67, of Kepple Close, Rossington, Doncaster, admitted being the owner of a dog that was dangerously out of control, when he appeared at Mansfield Magistrates Court, on Wednesday.

But magistrates ordered the destruction of Buster because “the contingency order was breached, the dog wasn’t secure, another dog was killed and two members of the public were made fearful.”

Spencer was fined £196, and was ordered to pay compensation of £260 to the owner of the dog that was killed.