A German shepherd called Diesel, which attacked an RAF dog handler leaving him permanently scarred, is to be humanely destroyed after a sheriff yesterday ruled the animal was still dangerous.
RAF man Michael Lauchlan was asked to spend time with Diesel by Martin McShane and his pregnant wife because they wanted to be “particularly sure” that the family pet would be safe with a newborn baby.
Mr Lauchlan, 35, asked to be left alone in their Erskine home on 19 February with the dog, Paisley Sheriff Court was told, but as soon as the kitchen door was opened, Diesel lunged at him, sinking his teeth into his arm.
Depute fiscal John Penman said it had been “a tragic irony” that the victim of the attack was a trained dog handler. He said Mr Lauchlan’s experience saved him from more serious injury as he was able to force the dog to release its grip.
The court was told that the dog had snarled and growled at Mr Lauchlan before jumping on him, and seizing him by the arm. In court, Mr McShane, 33, admitted owning a dog which was dangerously out of control and attacked Mr Lauchlan to his injury and disfigurement.
Mr McShane and his wife had tried to have Diesel put down but their vet refused. They then had the dog neutered after being advised this might calm him down.
Defence agent Gordon Nicol said his client and his wife took a pride in being responsible and caring individuals who viewed safety as a matter of some concern.
Ten months had passed since the incident, he said, and Diesel had shown no more displays of aggression.
“On the day this happened, Mr McShane was in as much shock as the complainer,” said Mr Nicol. “He was profusely apologetic.”
Mr Lauchlan received treatment at Paisley’s Royal Alexandra Hospital for puncture wounds to his hand and forearm and was kept in for several nights after one of the injuries became infected.
Sheriff Colin Pettigrew told Mr McShane: “In the very unusual circumstances of the case, I think the appropriate disposal is to admonish you.
“With a heavy heart, I cannot be satisfied that the dog will not present a danger to public safety and accordingly, order its destruction.”