Woman avoids jail for dog’s savage attack on friend

Sharon Lindsay leaves Dundee Court
Sharon Lindsay leaves Dundee Court
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A JAPANESE Akita that savaged three people - including a seven-year-old boy - leaving them with horrific permanent scars was ordered to be destroyed today as its owner avoided jail over the attacks.

Sharon Lindsay had tried to blame one of her dog, Bo’s, victims for her injuries - claiming she had “goaded the dog with food”.

She had earlier ignored police and council advice on how to control the animal - and refused to hand it over to authorities trying to protect the public after the third attack.

Lindsay’s dog - of a breed not banned in the UK, but blamed for numerous attacks - bit all three of it’s victims at her home address in Dundee.

He first targeted Lindsay’s friend, Michelle Rossi, biting her on her wrist in October last year as she tried to save her handbag from being ripped to shreds.

Then in February this year the Akita lunged at a seven-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, biting him on the face and leaving him with an inch long wound that will leave a permanent scar.

And on March 17 it launched its most serious attack - biting Pauline Getty on the face as she sat on the floor of Lindsay’s house attempting to talk to the dog.

Bo launched itself at Miss Getty - savaging her face and leaving her needing 22 stitches on the face, numerous internal stitches and visits to a plastic surgeon to repair.

She has been left with horrific permanent scars.

But Dundee Sheriff Court heard that she had forgiven Lindsay for the attack - and the pair hugged as Lindsay left the dock in tears after avoiding prison.

A sheriff said that if the “injuries were caused by a human they would be looking at three or four years in jail”.

But instead of sending Lindsay to prison the lawman placed her on an electronic tag for nine months.

Dominant behaviour

Fiscal depute Lisa Welsh told the court: “In the first incident the victim was left bleeding and was taken to A+E where her punctured wrist was dealt with.

“She did not report the incident as the dog was young and she thought it was an isolated incident.

“On February 6 a police officer warned the accused regarding a report of a seven-year-old boy having been bitten by Bo at her address.

“An animal control officer later attended and gave her advice.

“The officer, who has 17 years experience working with dangerous and aggressive dogs, immediately felt uneasy in its presence due to its dominant behaviour.

“On March 17 Pauline Getty was eating dinner at the address and was providing the dog with items of food.

“Having finished eating she sat on the floor next to the fire and turned to face Bo to speak to him.

“Without any warning the dog bit her on the face below her mouth, then further bit her left cheek.

“A large amount of blood was coming from her to the extent that some spilled on another witness at the address.

“The animal control officer and a police officer attended to see if she would sign the dog over to them for destruction.

“The dog appeared to be very loyal to the accused and there was a fear of the dog attacking the witnesses if force was used to separate them.

“A warrant was later granted and the dog was traced at a vets office where it was being neutered.

“The dog showed a great deal of aggression on being removed from the vets and had to be restrained using two dog poles.

“When interviewed by police she said: ‘The dog was not out of control, she kept goading the dog with food even when I asked her not to.’”

Lindsay, 40, of Larch Street, Dundee, pleaded guilty on indictment to three charges under the Dangerous Dogs Act.

George Donnelly, defending, said: “She had previously had a female Akita for 12 years with no problems - but the male of the breed was a more difficult temperament.

“The victim of the third attack is in court today and is standing by Miss Lindsay.”

Sheriff Richard Davidson ordered the destruction of the dog, banned Lindsay from keeping dogs for seven years and put her on an electronic tag for nine months confining her to her home from 7pm to 7am every day.

He said: “This is a Japanese mountain dog bred for pulling sledges that is personal to its owner and doesn’t like other people - and it demonstrated that three times.

“Had I been dealing with somebody without all her difficulties who had treated the advice given to her with the contempt she appeared to she would be going to prison.

“You are within one inch of going to prison today - especially given the damage done to Miss Getty in your home.”

Lindsay broke down in tears as she was told the dog would be destroyed - and hugged victim Miss Getty in the public benches after the sentence was handed down.

Neither made any comment as they left court together after the hearing.