Owner receives suspended sentence after Christmas Day dog attack in Northamptonshire leaves puppy dead and couple injured

The owner has also been ordered to pay compensation to the victims

Tuesday, 3rd August 2021, 8:27 am
Northampton Crown Court.

A man who owns the dogs involved in a Christmas Day attack in Northamptonshire has been handed a suspended prison sentence.

Luke Brown of Paxton Road, St Neots, previously lived in Gayton where the attack happened on December 25, 2019.

The 28-year-old had ten dogs, including American Bullies, in his home at the time of the attack as part of his business, which involves hiring out the canines for music videos, films and more.

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On the day in question, a woman was walking her dogs - including one 16-week-old Irish Setter puppy - in a field near to Brown’s home when eight of his dogs escaped.

Due to a broken fence, this was not the first time Brown’s dogs had escaped and the defendant was aware of the issues with the fence.

Catherine Picardo, prosecuting, said: “One dog had its jaw around the puppy.

“[The victim] tried to free the attacking dog’s jaw from the puppy. She even tried to bite the dog.

“As she intervened she was attacked by other dogs. One bit her right arm, another bit her left arm.”

The victim called her husband for help. When he arrived, he found his wife lying face down with one dog biting her arm and another on her back.

The husband tried to hit the dogs with a stick, but the stick broke and the husband was attacked.

The victim’s brother was called and he knocked on Brown’s doors and windows. Brown appeared at the scene of the attack a short while after and said: “They’ve never done this before, I don’t know what is going on.”

Both the husband and wife were taken to hospital and the woman had to have emergency surgery on her arm, leaving her with permanent scars.

Brown was subsequently charged with two counts of being the owner of a dangerously out of control dog. He pleaded guilty to both counts.

A victim impact statement read out in court by Ms Picardo said: “It was frightening because she [the victim] felt powerless to save the puppy.

“Two months after the attack she was unable to dress herself or help her elderly parents.

“She had emergency surgery on her arm on Christmas Day and then second surgery.

“She couldn’t look after herself; she couldn’t drive or cook.”

At the sentencing at Northampton Crown Court on Monday (August 2), the prosecution asked the judge to consider a destruction order for a specific named dog and also an order whereby any of Brown’s dogs would need to be on a lead and muzzled if in a public place.

Defence solicitor, Liam Muir, argued that the named dog should not be the subject of a destruction order as there was not enough evidence to prove the dog’s involvement in the attack.

A dog training expert, who assessed the named dog, also took to the stand to say the dog was ‘happy, welcoming and balanced’, even during rigorous testing.

The expert also expressed his view that Brown was confident with all of his dogs and that his new home and kennel set up is ‘excellent’.

Passing sentence, Judge David Herbert said: “I am satisfied the majority of your dogs were involved in this attack. They acted in my view as a group or pack, it doesn't matter how you term it, they acted together and caused shocking results which I have described and which would have been shocking for those injured and anyone in the vicinity.

“It was and should have been a clear warning to you that these dogs needed proper conditions in your property, you failed at that which you accept and you are here today to be sentenced.

“It all happened because you had put in no effort into ensuring the dogs were secure, I have seen the photos of the fencing and it would be obvious to anyone that fencing would not have contained those dogs and clearly it didn't.”

Brown was sentenced to 12 months in prison, suspended for two years, and was ordered to pay £4,800 in compensation to his victims.

No order was passed for destruction of the named dog or for Brown to keep his dogs muzzled and on leads in a public place.