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Puppy which attacked two people in Workington has death sentence overturned

Carlisle Crown Court

A PUPPY which escaped from its owner’s Workington house and attacked two people – biting one – has had a death sentence overturned on appeal.

Carlisle Crown Court heard that uncertainty surrounded how Hella, a Tibetan Mastiff bitch, actually got out of Lee Bates’s Moss Bay Road home on September 19.

But once outside, Hella was said to have bit a delivery driver’s steel toe-capped boots. Hella then bit Bates’ neighbour, Terri Roper, once on her inner right thigh. Ms Roper received butterfly stitches and anti-biotics.

Bates admitted owning a dog which was dangerously out of control in the street, injuring Ms Roper. He was punished during a magistrates’ court hearing last month, when a district judge also directed that Hella be destroyed.

But Bates lodged an appeal against the dog’s death sentence which was heard – and allowed – at the crown court.

Now aged 11 months, Hella hadn’t bitten anyone before or since. Police and the Crown Prosecution Service also backed the imposition of a contingent destruction order – sparing the dog’s life subject to conditions.

Sellafield process worker Bates promised Recorder Kevin Grice, sitting with two magistrates, he would keep Hella muzzled and on a lead in public; would make his premises totally secure; and take his pet to behaviour classes.

Recorder Grice spoke of being “impressed” by Bates, and concluded: “When he says, therefore, he will take appropriate steps to ensure that nothing like this happens again, then we accept what he says.”

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