South Normanton dog owner in court after attack on horse left rider needing hospital treatment

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A woman was knocked out when she fell from a panic-stricken horse being attacked by a dog, a court was told.

Elizabeth Christian was riding the large horse, named Bramble, along a bridlepath at Broadmeadows, South Normanton, at 4pm on 16th June.

The horse panicked as Charlie, a Staffordshire bull terrier - labrador cross, ignored calls from its owner and snapped at the horse.

“The horse bucked and she was thrown off. She was concussed by a bang to the back of her head and was next aware of a paramedic tending to her,” Lynn Manning, prosecuting, told Chesterfield magistrates.

A fellow rider saw Ms Christian fall and land face down. The horse fell on its side during the attack - fortunately missing Ms Christian.

Ms Manning said the horse then got up and bolted and the dog latched its jaws onto its face.

When dog owner Christopher Clarke caught up with them Charlie was hanging from the horse’s face. He prised its jaws open to end the attack.

The court heard that Ms Christian was taken to hospital and discharged with a minor head injury

Her horse suffered puncture wounds to its mouth area, and bite marks to its left shoulder and a back leg and was taken to a vet for treatment.

Clarke (36) told police the 18-month-old dog had slipped its lead as he picked up its droppings and then ran out of sight. He said he had bought a muzzle for it and enrolled it on an obedience class since the incident.

Clarke, formerly of Elmhurst Avenue, South Normanton, and now of Hallfield Road, Newton, admitted being the owner of a dog that was dangerously out of control.

The bench decided not to have the dog destroyed. Presiding magistrate David Summers ordered that it be kept muzzled and on a lead in public areas for two years.

He fined Clarke £94 and ordered him to pay £500 compensation to Ms Christian and £141 to vet Denise Beastall, with £85 costs.

Defence solicitor Phil Bloore said Clarke and his wife took on the dog after it had been in rescue kennels for eight months. It had been neutered and they had no problems with it before the incident.

“It crossed a road and went up an embankment onto the bridleway. Mr Clarke had no idea horses were there. He has been quite poorly with deep vein thrombosis and he couldn’t chase after it.

“The next thing he saw was the horse running past him with the dog attached to it and he followed them and prised the dog off the horse’s mouth,” said Mr Bloore.

He added: “It was a very unpleasant incident. Quite a lot of people were understandably upset and he is sorry. He gave the owner of the horse his details and contacted police himself.”

The dog control order was applied to both Clarke and his wife, Terri-Marie Clarke, after Mr Bloore said the couple had separated since the incident and the dog lived with her.