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Burton girl, 7, in dog attack horror

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: July 18, 2014

By Rich Guttridge

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A SEVEN-YEAR-OLD girl was dragged around a Burton alleyway by her hair in a terrifying dog attack, a court has heard.

The girl was on her way home from school with her mother and five-year-old sister in Stapenhill when a Japanese akita lurched towards her after escaping from a back garden.

The dog has since been put down by its former owner Caroline Harris, who appeared at Burton Magistrates' Court over the attack.

The Violet Way Academy schoolgirl, who cannot be named, was said to have been left 'emotionally unstable' and fearful of dogs following the attack, which happened between Stanton Road and Manor Crescent.

Andrew Bodger, prosecuting, said the mother had spotted the animal against a fence on its hind legs, but had not considered it to be a threat as it was on a lead.

But the akita managed to break free from Harris' grasp and squeeze through a gap between the fence and a hedge. It immediately targeted the girl, forcing her to the floor before clamping onto her hair, the court heard.

The terrified mother struck the dog with the children's schoolbags and kicked it in a desperate attempt to free her daughter.

Mr Bodger said: "It grabbed hold of her arm and knocked her to the ground. As she tried to get up it grabbed her shoulder, knocking her down again. It then grabbed hold of her hair and tried to pull her around the jitty.

"The mother tried to get the dog off her daughter. (The girl) shouted 'help me mummy.'"

The attack, which happened on April 8, was brought to an end when Harris finally managed to get her pet under control.

The 25-year-old, of Manor Crescent, who pleaded guilty to allowing a dog to be dangerously out of control, had claimed the young girls had 'teased' the dog, telling police

that if they had not approached it 'none of this would have happened'.

Sonia Lawrence, defending a tearful Harris, said the dog had grown up around children since being brought into their home in November 2012.

She said: "She is a responsible dog owner. She was taking her dog out to go to the toilet on a lead. She has been completely devastated by this. It was a family pet, her son's dog."

Harris was fined £125 and ordered to pay compensation of £950.

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