Savaged by a pub dog

PUBLISHED: 13:11 22 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:50 04 May 2010

ATTACKED: Margaret Gable needed more than 20 stitches to her face after being savaged by a publican’s Dalmatian.

ATTACKED: Margaret Gable needed more than 20 stitches to her face after being savaged by a publican's Dalmatian.

PARTYGOER Margaret Gable needed more than 20 stitches to her face after being savaged by a publican s Dalmatian. She claims she was so badly injured she was left scarred for life in the attack which happened during a pub Hallowe en party. But amazingly ma

PARTYGOER Margaret Gable needed more than 20 stitches to her face after being savaged by a publican's Dalmatian.

She claims she was so badly injured she was left scarred for life in the attack which happened during a pub Hallowe'en party.

But amazingly magistrates ordered a stay of execution for the dog even though it bit a police officer sent to investigate the case the following day.

Mrs Gable, 49, was enjoying a private fancy dress party at the Carpenters Arms in Soham on October 30 last year when the seven-year-old Dalmatian, Charlie, came into the bar.

As the dog went to pass her table she claims she turned and put out her hand to the dog.

Charlie sank his teeth into Mrs Gable's right cheek, narrowly missing her eye, and left her with blood pouring down her face.

"It was like being hit in the face by a breeze block," said Mrs Gable, of Church Lane, Wicken. "There was no warning. He didn't growl or bark. He just leapt at my face.

"I was told I was really lucky not to lose my eye. I had stitches on the side of my nose and part of my cheek is missing so my face is quite lumpy now. I have been told by the plastic surgeon that, in layman's terms, they might have to sandpaper my face to make it flatter. They are waiting to see how the scarring goes."

After the attack staff and guests ran to Mrs Gable's aid, stemming the flow of blood with towels while an ambulance was called.

She was taken to Cambridge's Addenbrooke's Hospital where she spent the night as a plastic surgeon slowly repaired her damaged face.

The day after the incident police officer, Pc Kevin Humble, called at the pub to investigate the incident and was nipped by Charlie, but was unhurt as he was wearing protective clothing.

On Thursday, pub landlady, Carol Botting, admitted violating the 1871 Dogs Act.

She changed her plea from not guilty after a deal with struck with the Crown Prosecution Service not to pursue a destruction order on the dog.

But magistrates ordered that Charlie should not be allowed in public areas of the bar in future.

Chairman of the magistrates, Hamish Ross, told Botting: "There appears to be an issue with a dog. We are minded that your dog is not going to be ordered to be destroyed.

"This dog is prone to being a bit highly-strung and you must ensure the safety of the public in public areas. Otherwise, you will be back here again and the outcome could be different."

Botting was ordered to pay £55 costs and Mrs Gable may take legal action for compensation.

After the hearing, Mrs Botting's daughter, Toni, 24, who witnessed the attack told the Ely Standard: "Charlie really is a lovely, soft dog. He has never caused any problems.

"We had asked everyone at the party whether they minded the dog coming in and he had been around for about 30 minutes. This lady suddenly noticed the dog, grabbed hold of him by each side of his face and said: 'Oh, spotty dog.' She put her face right into his face and that scared him."

Defending the magistrates' decision not to destroy the dog, a spokeswoman for the Crown Prosecution Service said: "This was a case where the magistrates were extremely unlikely to order the destruction of the dog on the facts of the case."

She added that the Mrs Botting was persuaded to admit the complaint and in return the destruction order would be abandoned in favour of a control order keeping the dog away from the public.

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