A COUNTY Durham dad is facing court after his two-year-old chihuahua “nipped” a woman’s leg while visiting his home. 

Ashley Routledge, 30, faces a charge for owning a dog “dangerously out of control” following an incident involving his two-year-old dog, Buddy and an Avon worker.

The charge was brought after a 49-year-old woman visited Mr Routledge’s home in Crook in order to collect a catalogue where she was allegedly nipped by the dog.

She told The Sun newspaper that the dog had come out the house before “nipping" her leg, which left a “bleeding” injury and a bruise.

The woman, who claimed that the dog was getting “more and more irate,” told the newspaper that the dog showed aggression.

However Mr Routledge, who said he had been given Buddy after his neighbours moved away, said he intended to fight the case when it goes before Magistrates next month.

The charge, which comes under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, can result in the owner of a dog found guilty being jailed.

It says that a person found guilty can be sentenced to up to five years in cases involving injury.

It also says that in some cases the dog can also be ordered under the act to be destroyed.

But saying the incident was a “freak accident,” Mr Routledge said his dog was anxious around new people.

The father-of-three, who said he had been given Buddy after his neighbours moved away, said he had only owned the dog for around a month when the incident happened.

He said: “He’s got more friends around here than me – this was a complete accident, a freak accident.”

Mr Routledge, who said he would rather go to jail than hand over his dog as a matter of principle, said he did not believe the case would ever get to court.

He said: “If they put him down, I’d just be absolutely gutted.

“To think they’d put down a small dog for nipping a woman, yet there are other dogs that can do a lot more damage.”

He added: “Friends and family just think it’s ridiculous.”

A spokesperson for Durham Police confirmed Mr Routledge had been summonsed to court to face a charge of owning or being in charge of a dog that was dangerous out of control.

The case involving Mr Routledge is due to be heard next month at Peterlee Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, July 14.