Doberman Dog Could Be Destroyed After Biting Girl

PUBLISHED: 10:50 27 October 2008 | UPDATED: 10:35 04 May 2010

THE life of a Doberman dog is hanging in the balance this week, after magistrates heard how it bit a 14-year-old girl on the thigh as she walked along a village footpath, leaving her bleeding, shocked and suffering from nightmares. The animal - a four-yea

THE life of a Doberman dog is hanging in the balance this week, after magistrates heard how it bit a 14-year-old girl on the thigh as she walked along a village footpath, leaving her bleeding, shocked and suffering from nightmares.

The animal - a four-year-old called Luca - was seized by police after the attack, and magistrates are set to decide on a possible destruction order next month.

Appearing at Ely courthouse on Thursday, Rychard Scrase-Field, 34, of Birchanger Lane, Bishop's Stortford, admitted being in charge of the dog when it was dangerously out of control in Boot Lane, Barrington, on August 3.

Prosecuting, Yetunde Fawehinmi told how a 14-year-old girl, whose identity has been protected by the court, was going through a kissing gate when she saw Scrase-Field with the dog on a lead.

"The girl took a side step around the man and the dog, and she felt a sharp pain at the bottom of her right thigh. She saw the dog had bitten her leg, it held her leg for a few seconds, and then let go."

The girl ran off. By the time she got home, there was a lot of blood running down her leg, and it was throbbing, added Mrs Fawehinmi.

At Addenbrooke's Hospital, a doctor saw a one-centimetre deep puncture wound on the girl's thigh, and said a skin graft might be needed. Two or three smaller puncture wounds were also noted.

The dog belonged to Scrase-Field's girlfriend, who had recently undergone an operation. The dog had previously bitten another dog.

After the incident, the 14-year-old wrote in a statement: "I was shocked and panicked. I said I was OK, and started to run. There was a lot of blood, it freaked me out. My leg hurt like hell. I had a few nightmares; I kept seeing the dog's eyes."

Mitigating, Alan Taylor said Scrase-Field had stood to the side as the teenage girl approached, out of courtesy.

"Without any warning the dog bit and my client immediately pulled it back," he said. "He is first aid trained, and asked if she was all right." He claimed that the girl's wound was "tiny". He added: "She was treated for a minor wound with a simple dressing, given a tetanus injection and sent on her way."

He asked the court to give Scrase-Field a conditional discharge, and not order the dog's destruction.

But presiding magistrate Bryant Watson said: "We consider the wound suffered by the young girl was quite severe, and we will consider the destruction of the dog at the next hearing, when its owner should attend."

The sentencing of Scrase-Field was adjourned, and the case was adjourned until November 7 at Cambridge Magistrates' Court, for the date of a hearing over the dog's fate to be set.

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