PC left with dog’s tooth in hand after Brierfield attack

A dog owner whose Staffordshire bull terrier attacked a police officer in a horror attack has escaped a prison sentence.

Monday, 27th January 2014, 3:00 pm
Burnley Crown Court.

Sandra Wardle’s dog “Kitso” left PC Ruth Syers with one of its teeth embedded in her hand after the attack, in Rylands Street, Burnley, last April.

Burnley Crown Court heard the policewoman underwent surgery to her hand to remove the dog’s tooth and she remained in Royal Preston Hospital for two days.

Wardle, of Burnley Road, Brierfield, pleaded guilty to the offence. The court heard the 59-year-old, who had a similar previous conviction for having a dog dangerously out of control, also failed to attend court on a previous date for sentencing.

Wardle pleaded guilty to being drunk and disorderly, failing to comply with a dog control order and allowing a dog out of control to cause injury.

A behavioural report compiled on “Kitso” by experts at an animal clinic reported that the dog is not a danger to the public.

Sentencing her on Friday, Recorder Michael Blakey QC said: “Because of this attack, the victim required surgery to her hand and remained in hospital for two days. She has had to have counselling and has suffered with flashbacks of the incident since. She also had to have physio for a number of weeks and is left with permanent scarring.

“This was not purposely done by you because the dog escaped, but you lacked control of the dog.”

Wardle, who had a drink problem, was sentenced to four months in prison, suspended for 12 months. She has been disqualified from the ownership of a dog for six years and was also placed on a 12-month supervision order. No order was made for dog to be destroyed.

PC Syers attended a house in Rylands Street with two colleagues, following reports of a disturbance, when the attack occurred. On arrival at the property, the dog was acting aggresively and Wardle was told to put the dog in another room, which she did. However, the dog managed to escape and attacked the female officer.

Wardle’s defending solicitor said: “The dog managed to get out. There was no malicious intent on the defendant’s part to release the dog.”