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Owner of Akita which attacked police woman in Tow Law wins appeal to keep dogs again
A WOMAN whose Japanese Akita attacked a police officer calling at her farm house, has overturned a ban preventing her keeping dogs.
The police woman, who was mistakenly visiting the wrong address, was greeted by the barking of the tethered animal as she went up the driveway at High Househope Farm, in Tow Law, County Durham, on August 26 last year.
Durham Crown Court heard that as no-one was in the vicinity the officer felt it was unsafe to remain and so backed off, but the dog, Kane, broke free of its tether and attacked.
The panic-stricken officer tried to defend herself, but was badly bitten, suffering deep lacerations to both forearms, suffering heavy blood loss.
She pressed her panic alarm and was eventually assisted by colleagues arriving at the scene.
Victoria Lamballe, prosecuting, said the officer received 36 stitches and underwent plastic surgery during four days in hospital. She will remain scarred.
The court was told she has also suffered psychological effects from the attack.
Owner, Morag Lorna Watson, who had been walking other dogs, returned to retrieve the stray Akita, which was running loose in surrounding streets.
She told police she owned the four-year-old for two-and-a-half years, keeping it as a guard dog, but confirmed it once previously broken free of its tether, which she had replaced.
Watson, 51, now of Eskdale Place, Newton Aycliffe, admitted being in charge of a dog dangerously out of control in public.
Magistrates in Newton Aycliffe last month imposed an 18-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, during which Watson will be subject of probation supervision.
They ordered destruction of the dog and banned Watson from keeping dogs for five years. She was also ordered to pay £250 compensation.
Appealing against the ban, her barrister Paul Currer, told the crown court she was of previous good character and had owned many dogs without problem.
Mr Currer, who handed three character testimonials to the court, added that Watson also had health problems and found it therapeutic to keep dogs as pets.
Recorder Jonathan Aitken, sitting with two magistrates, agreed to lift the ban on keeping dogs, but reminded Watson of the responsibility of owners to ensure their pets do not pose a threat to the public.
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