A DOG owner whose pet was killed in an attack by a pair of pitbulls has criticised a court ruling that has seen one of them returned to its family.
Elaine Sanderson was walking her three Yorkshire terriers through Gosport Park at 8am when they were savaged by a pair of animals on September 14 last year.
The youngest of the 57-year-old’s dogs, 18-month-old Jodie, died instantly, while two-year-old Poppy was left with injuries to her neck.
Heidi Gilbert, of Hornet Close in Gosport, admitted being in possession of a dangerous dog, allowing a pitbull terrier to be in a public place without a muzzle or lead, and owning a dog that was dangerously out of control in a public place.
She was also found guilty after a trial at Fareham Magistrates’ Court of a further count of owning a dog that was dangerously out of control in a public place. The 35-year-old was ordered to pay Mrs Sanderson £1,500 compensation and given a three-year conditional discharge.
An order was made under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 for one of the dogs, named Bullseye, to be destroyed.
Gilbert’s dogs were kept in kennels during the police investigation.
Magistrates also ordered that the other dog, Tia, must be kept muzzled at all times outside, including the garden, kept on a lead anywhere except the home or garden, and banned it from Gosport Park, or it too would face being put down.
The two dogs had escaped from Gilbert’s back garden by managing to get over the back fence.
But Mrs Sanderson, of Ash Close in Gosport said: ‘I don’t think she’s a responsible dog owner, and for her to get one of her dogs back is wrong, that dog should have gone to another family. I obviously don’t like to see any dogs destroyed but that pitbull was evil.
‘I’m still very nervous taking my dog out now and I’m on my guard all the time. A lot of people say it’s the owner, not the dog, and I do agree with that 90 per cent, but with the right owners they can still be good pets.’
The attack left Mrs Sanderson with bruised ribs when she fell, but she added: ‘Poppy’s pulled through, she’s okay now physically but we’ve had a couple of nervous outbreaks at the park.’
‘I can’t understand why people are keeping fighting dogs, particularly if they’re around young children.’