AN animal owner had her pet Jack Russell put down after he escaped and attacked another dog in a church yard, a court has heard.

Leonora Kelleher (CORR) had her pet Toby destroyed after he mauled a dog in the grounds of St Andrew’s Church in Bishop Auckland on January 11, magistrates in Newton Aycliffe were told.

Kelleher, 58, of Gent Road in Bishop Auckland, admitted being the owner of a dangerous dog that was out of control in a public place.

Prosecutor Blair Martin said Toby, who had been given to Kelleher by her sister in August last year, escaped from his home and made his way to the church yard.

He then launched a five minute attack on a Yorkshire Terrier called Timmy leaving the other dog with several puncture wounds, the court heard.

Toby also bit Timmy’s owner during the attack, Mr Martin said.

Alan Meehan in mitigation said Toby had come from a rescue centre and was fine around people and children but could become aggressive with other dogs.

He said Toby was destroyed soon after the attack and Kelleher, who had never even been in trouble with the police before, wrote a letter of apology to Timmy’s owner.

Magistrates gave her a conditional discharge for six months and ordered her to pay £54.91 to cover Timmy’s vet bills and a £15 victim surcharge.