Magistrates have ordered the destruction of a bulldog following a horrifying attack against a mail deliverer in Sandy.
The attack took place on July 13, 2014 as Cassie Larham, a mail deliverer for Hermes delivered a parcel to the address at Winchester Road.
The dog’s owner, Yvonne Clegg, 36, was convicted of possessing an out of control dog following a trial at Luton Magistrates Court on June 13.
The attack left Miss Larham staggering into the street covered in blood in front of her terrified four-year-old son, who was waiting for her in the car.
Appearing in court last Friday, July 17 for sentencing, magistrates decided they had no option but to order the destruction of the seven-year-old British bulldog called Little Man.
The court heard how on the day in question, Miss Larham drove to Mrs Clegg’s house to deliver a parcel.
I cannot describe the pain, it was awful, I felt its’ teeth sink into my flesh. I was screaming, ‘help me, help me!’Miss Larham
She parked her car in front of the house, leaving her four-year-old son in the car before heading to the front gate.
Miss Larham saw a sign on a metal gate saying ‘beware of the dog’ and called out to the defendant who she could see in the kitchen at the front of the house.
She then went through and called out again after taking a few steps. She told the court someone replied and she could also see two dogs, a small dog and a larger one she claimed was aggressive, snarling and showing its teeth.
Miss Larham started to retreat and the dog was pushing the base of its enclosure. After a couple of attempts it managed to push through a space, and as Mrs Clegg opened her front door the dog came flying across the courtyard at Miss Larham.
She turned away but the dog jumped up on her back and she felt the nip of its teeth.
Before she had got back to the gate, she felt a sharp pain between her left arm and shoulder blade.
She screamed “get the dog off me”, but could hear no reply.
Seconds later she felt excruciating pain.
She said: “I cannot describe the pain, it was awful, I felt its’ teeth sink into my flesh. I was screaming, ‘help me, help me!’”
She then felt a second sharp pain, as the dog bit into her thigh.
Miss Larham made it out of the gate and came staggering into the street. She saw a girl, about eight, approach the house and screamed at her to keep back – it later turned out this was the defendant’s daughter.
As she turned around she saw the dog with blood around its mouth. The owner appeared to have pulled him off her by grabbing the dog’s collar.
The injured woman shouted, “put the dog away!”
Covered in blood, neighbours helped her to her feet and, seeing her son step outside the car, she screamed at him to get back in - terrified the dog would soon get out on to the street.
Neighbours helped her into her car and passed her a towel.
Mrs Clegg is understood to have taken her to Bedford A&E where the wounds were cleaned.
Miss Larham said the incident keeps repeating in her head, and she’s wary about continuing in her job. She is unable to sleep for long and had just got over a fear of dogs and is now afraid of them again. Her son was petrified, seeing his mum being mauled by the dog.
Mum-of-three Mrs Clegg said she had just returned from shopping and was in the kitchen with Little Man. Although she was aware of the delivery driver she said she did not see the dog attack Miss Larham.
Since the incident she put a bell at the gate, and more signs of ‘beware the dog’.
The defendant is applying to look after her sister’s three children told the court she takes her responsibilities as a dog owner seriously. She keeps five dogs in all.
At the trial in June, magistrates found that Miss Larham’s evidence was convicing, they were satisfied she was a credible witness and believed she did not unlatch the metal gate.
Mrs Clegg’s defence explained that her husband is currently in prison for eight years, and imprisonment would be “too much” for their children. At the moment she is seeking to care for her sister’s three children, aged between seven and 11. Social Services have done over a dozen visits to her home and are supportive of the application.
After making the destruction order on Little Man, magistrates also ordered Mrs Clegg to pay £600 compensation to Mrs Larham and made her subject to a three month curfew between 9pm and 7am.
Outside of the courtroom, Mrs Clegg wept at the dog’s fate.