Womans American bulldog tore off neighbours thumb in unprovoked attack

A woman has been fined after her American bulldog tore off a man’s thumb in an unprovoked attack.

A Staffordshire court heard how Demi Benbow's American bulldog Buster escaped through an open gate at her home in Stoke-on Trent in March this year, and attacked another dog being walked by its owner

The man, who lives nearby, was badly bitten as he tried to separate the two animals. The attack left him needing surgery on both hands and he was in hospital for six days.

Magistrates at North Staffordshire Justice Centre heard that Benbow's dog has since been put down, the Stoke Sentinel reports

Prosecutor Karen Wright said: "It was 6pm and the victim left his address to walk his 11-year-old Siberian husky, Ice, on a lead. He walked past the defendant's address on Catharine Road and noticed the bulldog Buster in the garden.

"That dog left the property through an insecure gate and attacked his dog. The victim tried to stop the dog from hurting his dog by using his free hand to try to part them.

"He was bitten to the thumb. It was a quite nasty injury. He let go of his own dog's lead and tried to punch the bulldog to the face. He was shouting and screaming.

"Neighbours heard the commotion and came outside. The bulldog was put back inside the owner's property. Miss Benbow came out and tried to help. She administered first aid to the injured party."

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The court heard that tensions were running high and Benbow made a 999 call to report what had happened.

The victim spent six days in hospital following the attack. Ms Wright said: "He had to have his thumb reattached and has been told it may have to be removed. On his other hand, he has had four surgeries to reattach the tendons on his palm."

Benbow pleaded guilty to being the owner of a dog dangerously out of control causing injury. The offence happened on March 13.

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David Houldcroft, mitigating, said Benbow's young son had left the front door and gate open, leading to the dog's escape.

"She hasn't really done a great deal wrong." he said. "The only thing you can criticise her for is allowing her son to open the door and gate, but it is difficult to keep your eye on children all the time, as many of us know.

"They acquired the dog as a family pet during the first lockdown. The dog had never attacked anyone before. It was not, on the face of it, an aggressive dog, it was scared of other dogs. This incident came out of the blue.

"She has taken full responsibility for what happened."

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