Dog owner is hit with fine after walkers are attacked

Cambridge Magistrates' Court.

Cambridge Magistrates' Court. - Credit: Archant

A 61-year-old man from St Ives has been allowed to keep his pet Rottweilers after they attacked two walkers.

Bruce Grimley, of Ramsey Road, appeared for sentencing at Cambridgeshire Magistrates’ Court on Friday having pleaded guilty to two counts of being in charge of a dog dangerously out of control and causing injury.

The defendant, who wore a grey suit and red tie, owns two Rottweilers and was walking one of them in Hill Rise, in St Ives, on September 8 last year when it jumped up at a fellow walker.

Giles Beaumont, prosecuting, said: “She [the complainant] is taking her dog out and having almost completed the walk she saw the Rottweiler not on its lead.

“She tried to walk off but in that time felt something jumping up behind her and its paws were on her shoulders.”

Mr Beaumont said she sustained soreness to her left arm as well as scratches, but that Grimley told her not to be “ridiculous” and that “it’s people like you who give this dog a bad name”.

The Rottweilers, called Puffer and Alfie, are 18-month-old brothers who Grimley has had since they were eight-weeks-old.

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The complainant took pictures of her injuries before coming into contact with another walker who said he too had been injured by Grimley’s dogs on November 2.

At an earlier hearing on January 17, the bench was told the larger Rottweiler had started to bark at the man’s dog before attacking its leg.

Mr Beaumont added: “He told Mr Grimley to get his dogs under control and picked his dog up and held her above his head. He saw a gated play area nearby and went over there for safety, but the two Rottweilers jumped up and attacked him to get to his dog.”

The walker received injuries to his nipple and arm, and his dog required veterinary treatment.

Mr Beaumont said Grimley was “remorseful to a degree”, but that he does not believe his dogs’ behaviour constitutes breaking the law.

The court also heard a report from animal behaviourist, Debra Connelly.

She said she had assessed the dogs and that, although they needed training, did not think they were aggressive.

“Mr Grimley says he will do anything and everything to bring them under control and he had mistaken a lot of their behaviour previously,” she said.

“I believe Mr Grimley has learned a very hard lesson in this and more about dogs and a lot more about his responsibility to the public.”

Grimley was handed a contingent destruction order, and was told to keep his dogs on a lead and muzzle in public.

The bench also said he must complete the recommended training, and he can only walk both pets at the same time if another adult capable of restraining them is with him.

The dogs must also be castrated within six weeks of their return to him.

Grimley was handed £85 in court costs, a £60 victim surcharge, £713.04 in vet fees, and £2,590 in kennel costs.

The court also told him to pay £100 to the first injured walker and £250 to the other.

Peter Waterfield, chairman of the bench, told Ms Connelly: “We think the outcome could have been quite different if we had not had your expertise.”