Dog owner is fined by court

A woman was knocked out when she fell from a panic-stricken horse being attacked by a dog, Chesterfield magistrates heard.

Elizabeth Christian was riding along a bridlepath at Broadmeadows, South Normanton on June 16 when the horse panicked as a Staffordshire bull terrier-labrador cross, ignored calls from its owner andsnapped at the horse.

“The horse bucked and she was thrown off. She was concussed by a bang to the back of her head,” said Lynn Manning, prosecuting.

Ms Manning said the horse then got up and bolted and when dog owner Christopher Clarke caught up the dog was hanging from the horse’s face. The horse suffered puncture wounds and bites. Clarke, 36, told police the 18-month-old rescue dog had slipped its lead. He has since bought a muzzle and enrolled it on an obedience class .

Clarke, formerly of Elmhurst Avenue, South Normanton, and now of Hallfield Road, Newton, admitted being the owner of a dog that was dangerously out of control.

JPs decided not to have the dog destroyed, but ordered it must be kept muzzled and on a lead in public areas for two years.

He was fined £94, must pay £500 compensation to Ms Christian and £141 to vet Denise Beastall, with £85 costs.

Defence solicitor Phil Bloore said Clarke and his wife took on the dog after it had been in rescue kennels for eight months. It had been neutered and they had no problems with it before the incident.

“It crossed a road and went up an embankment onto the bridleway. Mr Clarke had no idea horses were there. He has been quite poorly with deep vein thrombosis and he couldn’t chase after it.

“The next thing he saw was the horse running past him with the dog attached to it and he followed them and prised the dog off the horse’s mouth,” said Mr Bloore.

He added: “It was a very unpleasant incident. Quite a lot of people were understandably upset and he is sorry. He gave the owner of the horse his details and contacted police himself.”

The dog control order was applied to both Clarke and his wife, Terri-Marie Clarke, after Mr Bloore said the couple had separated since the incident and the dog lived with her.