Bulldog charged at girl before biting her ankle

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THE owner of a bulldog which bit a 13-year-old Sheffield girl has been warned that if the animal attacks again it will be destroyed.

Nathan Birch’s American Bulldog, called Biscuit, charged at schoolgirl Chloe Marsden before sinking its teeth into her ankle, a court heard.

Prosecutor Robert Coyne told Sheffield Magistrates’ Court that Chloe had been walking along Maltravers Road, Castle, when two dogs rushed towards her.

They jumped up at her and the younger of the two, Biscuit, bit the girl’s ankle.

Tim Gaubert, defending, said his Birch’s dogs lived outside in a kennel and were constantly tied up.

But, on this occasion, he explained they had broken away from their leads and rushed at the teenager.

Birch, 29, of Maltravers Road, Castle, pleaded guilty to being the owner of a dog dangerously out of control and causing injury.

Lead Magistrate John Craike said: “The difficulty for us is considering what if this happens again and could it be more serious?

“I’m not going to order that the dog is destroyed...but if there is another incident like this then your dog will be destroyed.”

He also ordered Birch pay Chloe Marsden £100 compensation, £50 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

Magistrates were also told jobless Birch still owes the court £887.31 in outstanding fines for previous offences.

The total amount he earns will now be added together and deducted directly from his benefits.

The court case came as judges published the first proposed sentencing guidelines for people convicted of dangerous dogs offences - which could see offenders locked up for two years.

The proposals have been announced after a rise in offences over recent years.

More than 1,700 people were prosecuted for dangerous dog offences in 2010 and the NHS has estimated it spends £3m a year treating injuries.