Burnley dog attack: ex judo champ in court

Burnley Magistrates' Court.
Burnley Magistrates' Court.

A former judo champion whose dog savaged another pet and injured its owner has appeared before magistrates.

Christopher Hartley (66), of Hirst Gardens, admitted owning a dog and allowing it to be dangerously out of control in a public place and causing injury to Antonia Ellis.

He was given a six-month conditional discharge, ordered to pay £1,040 compensation and a £15 victim surcharge. The Bench also made a contingent destruction order to ensure the lurcher-cross animal is on a lead and muzzled at all times while out in public.

The court was told the victim was walking her dog in Dall Street, Burnley Wood, on August 9th. She could see a man further down the street on a mobility scooter, which turned out to be the defendant.

Hartley’s lurcher-cross, which was not on a lead, approached Miss Ellis and, without any warning, launched at her dog, biting its stomach. She tried to pull her pet away by its lead but the dog had a firm grip on it. Miss Ellis was said to be screaming hysterically and kicked out at the defendant’s dog. The lurcher-cross bit through the other dog’s harness and it got away but the defendant’s dog attacked again, biting the dog and Miss Ellis’s heel.

Miss Ellis was helped by builders working nearby who heard her screams. Mr Andrew Robinson (prosecuting) said the dog had to be treated by a specialist vet.

Mr Trevor Grice (defending) said Hartley got the dog from the RSPCA. It was born at the RSPCA and had not displayed any aggressive behaviour before. Mr Grice said, in the minutes before it bit Miss Ellis’s dog, it had just been attacked by an Alsatian.

Mr Grice said the defendant had previously been a judo champion and a member of the British squad but a debilitating illness had left him in a wheelchair.

Mr Grice told the court: “He is desperate for the dog not to be destroyed. It is the only thing he has left.”