Bulldog attack left owner with £7000 vet bill

Alana Poterala. Picture: Vic Rodrick

Alana Poterala. Picture: Vic Rodrick

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A VICIOUS bulldog savaged a beagle in a horror attack – leaving the owner with a £7000 vet bill to help save her pet’s life.

Owner Valerie Millen looked on in horror when the American Bulldog sank its jaws into her pet beagle Bonnie during a walk in Bathgate.

The dog shook five-year-old Bonnie from side to side in its mouth, leaving her with a gaping wound from the stomach to the back.

He also bit Mrs Millen and her friend Heather Dudgeon as they tried desperately to separate the animals.

One tried unsuccessfully to stop the attack by grabbing the bulldog’s shoulders but its grip on the other animal was too strong. They were only separated when a local man used a mash hammer to hit the bulldog on the nose while another started kicking it. The woman responsible for keeping the bulldog under control admitted permitting it to cause danger, injury or annoyance on July 10 last year.

Alana Poterala, 26 – who lives in Boghall, where the attack happened – was ordered to pay £500 compensation. The court heard the vet bills had come to £7000, leaving Mrs Millen £2790 out of pocket following a pet insurance payout.

Katrine Craig, prosecuting, said nearby residents rushed to the women’s aid after hearing their screams.

Mrs Craig said: “The accused had arrived during this and she managed to seize her dog with the assistance of a neighbour and take it home. Witnesses saw that the beagle had ripped skin at the side where it had been bitten. They also described seeing what they described as a lump of fat lying on the ground with skin and hair attached.”

Defence agent Neil Stewart said the bulldog – which belonged to Poterala’s partner – was now being kept in secure kennels in Edinburgh.

He said: “She advises that she’d never seen the animal being aggressive before but she’s aware he should have been kept inside whenever possible because of his reaction to other dogs.

“She was maybe inside for one or two minutes and the first she heard of the incident was when she was told Hector had jumped the fence.”

Sheriff Susan Craig told Poterala: “This must have been an extremely distressing incident for you but more importantly for the victims of this offence.”

Bonnie’s wound was treated by a local vet, but later reopened and could not be stitched up again because most of the skin had shed.

The dog was saved by 
specialists at the Dick Vet veterinary school at Edinburgh University.

newsen@edinburghnews.com