A BID is to be made to secure the release of half of the 14 dogs seized from a breeder following a recent alleged attack by some of the animals.

Details of the request to secure the release of seven of Stephen Potts’ impounded American bull dogs were outlined as the one-armed breeder and a family friend appeared in court charged following the incident, on the outskirts of Durham, on October 21.

Mr Potts and Patricia Ayre were said to be exercising seven of the dogs when some were said to have come into confrontation with a Staffordshire bull terrier being walked by a 63-year-old man, on an area of open ground known as The Scrambles, between Belmont and Low Pittington.

As efforts were made to separate the dogs the 63-year-old suffered head and leg injuries, for which he required hospital treatment.

His son’s dog was also injured as were the two defendants.

The incident took place shortly after Mr Potts’ release from hospital where he had his badly mauled right arm amputated, following an attack by two of his own dogs, as he walked them in nearby High Pittington, on September 21.

Mr Potts and Mrs Ayre, a family friend, were subsequently charged with being in charge of dogs which caused serious injury while dangerously out of control.

Appearing at Durham Crown Court today (Thursday December 11), the preliminary hearing was told that they are to deny the charge and the case will proceed to a trial in the New Year.

Barrister Tony Davis, representing Mr Potts, told the court that all 14 of his dogs were seized after the incident.

Should Mr Potts be convicted some of the dogs involved are likely face a destruction order.

Mr Davis told the court: “It’s now been possible to identify which of the 14 dogs impounded by police were present at this incident and, therefore, I’m making an application to have seven returned as they cannot be put under any ‘suspicion’.

“Therefore, it would lift the threat of them facing a destruction order.”

Mr Davis said one of the seven at the scene was a puppy, named Angel, which was, “nothing other than terrified by events”.

He later confirmed he was making the application “forthwith” to the Durham Police solicitor.

The case was adjourned after all parties agreed a date of June 16 for the start of the trial.

Judge Robert Adams bailed 48-year-old Mr Potts, of Coronation Crescent, Low Pittington, and 66-year-old Mrs Ayre, of Rosedale Close, Sedgefield, to return to court for a plea hearing on February 26.

Mr Potts’ bail conditions forbid him having control of any dogs, so if Mr Davis’ application succeeds, the defendant’s father has agreed to look after any of the dogs if they are released.