East Lothian dog owner begs court to let Bulldog live after pensioner attack

Edinburgh Sheriff Court.
Edinburgh Sheriff Court.
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A dog owner who allowed his out of control Bulldog to attack an elderly woman has begged a court to allow the animal to live.

Shaun Leonard was in charge of the two-year-old dog named Bentley when it escaped from his garden and launched a savage attack on pensioner Jean Johnstone.

The crazed dog left the garden in Ormiston, East Lothian, and jumped up at the OAP before sinking its teeth into her right leg.

The 71-year-old victim was left screaming in agony but managed to fight the dog off and make her way to safety.

Leonard, 39, heard the dog barking and rushed from his home to find Bentley in the garden and the woman standing on the pavement bleeding from her wounds.

After hearing his mutt had attacked the woman Leonard told her ‘He doesn’t usually do that’.

Mrs Johnstone called in the police and was then forced to attend at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary for treatment to her injuries.

Leonard appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court today where he admitted being in charge of the unrestrained dog, which jumped up and attacked Jean Johnstone by biting her on the body at Park Road, Ormiston, East Lothian, on March 16 this year.

Procurator Fiscal depute Mark Keane told the court the Crown were moving for a destruction order on the animal.

But defending solicitor Melissa Virtue asked the court to defer any decision on the dog’s future so it can be proved the animal is now safe.

Ms Virtue said Bentley now lives with the son of its original owner in Glasgow and that there has been no further issues surrounding the dog’s behaviour.

Ms Virtue added the dog’s demeanour changed after it was attacked by two Alsatians last year. The lawyer said Bentley was also kicked in the head during the incident by the Alsatians’ owner.

Following the attack the dog was then said to be “timid and flinching” when approached but recently the animal has been regularly attending dog classes and vet appointments in a bid to improve its behaviour.

Ms Virtue said: “This seems to have been an unfortunate accident involving the dog but the Leonard’s and the current owners have taken steps to address Bentley’s behaviour.”

Fiscal depute Mr Keane told the court Mrs Johnstone was making her way past the Leonard’s home at around 11pm on March 16 when she was savagely attacked by the dog.

Mr Keane said the victim was left bleeding heavily due to “a large bite mark on her right leg” that had been “pierced by teeth”.

The victim managed to make her way to safety following the attack and when police arrived at Leonard’s home he admitted “hearing the disturbance involving the dog” but had not seen the incident.

He claimed his wife had inadvertently left the front door open and Bentley had escaped the house and gone on to bite Mrs Johnstone.

Sheriff Donald Corke agreed to defer sentence on Leonard to next month for reports and for the consideration of the destruction order.

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