The owner of four Staffordshire Bull Terriers which killed an pensioner’s Chihuahuas in a “frenzy” has been given a suspended sentence.
Owner Dawn Jackson, 42, of Hillington Square and homeless Mark Keepe, 40, were walking the four dogs, Snoopy, Inger, Missy and Teddy, in The Walks on December 1 when one escaped.
West Norfolk magistrates were told earlier today (Thursday, February 4) that the pair then let off the other dogs in a bid to get the first one back. But the group then went on to attack 83-year-old Jean Tuck’s beloved pets Podge and Phoebe.
Prosecutor Delia Matthews told the court that Mrs Tuck was talking to her friend at the entrance to The Walks when four Staffordshire Bull Terriers appeared out of nowhere and were “very excited”.
Mrs Matthew said: “One of the dogs ran straight at her little dog, grabbed it in its mouth and shook it.”
The court heard that Mrs Tuck and her friend started to shouting for the dogs to get off but then their attention turned to her other Chihuahua and grabbed it.
Terrified Mrs Tuck, who had been bitten, was able to pick up one of her dogs and put it on a friend’s shopping trolley knowing that it was probably dead.
The attack ended when the dogs became bored.
The bench was told that Mrs Tuck described the incident as a “frenzy”.
Jackson admitted a charge of being the owner of four dogs which were dangerously out of control while Keepe, pleaded guilty to being in charge of the dogs.
In mitigation, Roger Glazebrook said that Jackson was sorry for Mrs Tuck’s loss.
He said that Jackson normally takes out the dogs, a mother, two youngsters and an unrelated dog, two at-a-time but on this occasion took out all four as she had help.
Mr Glazebrook said: “The mother slipped her collar and got away and ran into the park and would not come back when called.”
He said they let the other dogs off the lead in the hopes to tempting the other dog back but the youngsters ran off.
Mr Glazebrook told the court that Jackson and Keepe punched the bull terriers to stop the attack.
He said: “When that was not working they decided to walk away in the hopes that the dogs would come.”
Mr Glazebrook told the court that Jackson suffers from schizophrenia and bipolar and that the dogs keep her calm when she suffers an episode.
Mitigating for Keepe, who arrived late for his hearing after missing a train from Downham, had attached the lead to the collar and the dog got free.
Mr Glazebrook said unemployed Keepe, who suffers from anxiety and depression, tried to separate the dogs from each other by punching and kicking.
He also added that Keepe was not responsible for the discipline of the dogs.
Jackson, who receives about £1,000 a month in benefits, was given a six-week prison sentence which was suspended for six months and was ordered to pay £200 in compensation to Mrs Tuck.
She was also banned for keeping dogs for two years and magistrates ordered the destruction of the dogs involved in the incident.
Keepe, who was sentenced yesterday afternoon, was fined £200 and told to pay £100 compensation.