Community order after pack of dogs attacked pet
A man has been given a community order after his pack of nine dogs attacked a family pet in the grounds of the home of MP Jacob Rees-Mogg.
Dozer the black Labrador was left so badly mauled it needed treatment costing £1,400.
Robert Baker, 46, of Pawlett Road, Bristol, appeared at Bath Magistrates' Court charged with criminal damage, relating to the incident which took place in West Harptree earlier this year.
The court heard that Baker had been walking nine dogs – three mastiffs, three whippets and three Jack Russell terriers – through the field, which has a public right of way across it, at about 3pm on March 18.
He said after seeing no one was nearby he decided to let the animals off their leads. His defence claimed the Labrador, called Dozer, whose owner Deborah Bowler works for Mr Rees-Mogg and lives on the adjacent land, had run up to the group and bitten Baker on the leg.
The court was told that he shouted out in pain which caused his dogs to come running to the scene to attack Dozer, causing significant injuries to his head, neck, ears and legs, which meant the dog had to undergo a three-and-a-half hour operation.
The court heard an impact statement from Mrs Bowler which said she was "angry and upset" about what had happened and that she wanted to see the dogs destroyed because she did not believe Baker had any control over them.
Gaynor Ibe, defending, said her client had done everything he could to stop the attack, even going as far as to lie on top of the Labrador to shield it from the out of control pack.
Ms Ibe said: "This is an extremely unfortunate incident and he looks back on it with deep regret.
"He has now purchased muzzles for the dogs and he no longer takes them out in such a large group.
"He has to accept that dogs are pack animals and that when they see one of their pack, in this case Mr Baker, under threat then they behave like pack animals."
She also said that Baker had been forced to leave West Harptree, where he had been living with his partner, because he and his family had been victims of abuse from villagers since the incident.
Baker, who pleaded guilty to the offence, was given a six-month community order, a four-week curfew and ordered to pay £1,400 in compensation to Mrs Bowler.