Warning after woman savaged in dog attack

THE victim of a savage dog attack has warned pet owners their animal could be a ‘loaded gun’ waiting to kill someone.

Katherine Hancock, of Wick St Lawrence, needed plastic surgery when she was left with sickening injuries following a crazed onslaught by three canines.

Her dog Cassie was also killed in the attack in Wrington woods.

On Monday, 65-year-old Sarah Avery, the owner of the trio of animals that attacked her, received a community order with a 40-hour unpaid work requirement and was ordered to pay �10,000 costs.

She had previously been found guilty of being the owner of a dog dangerously out of control.


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The Anatolian shepherd dogs attacked their victim and she was bitten multiple times on her face, head, arms and neck before her beloved collie Cassie was mauled to death during the bloody incident on October 21, 2009.

Following the sentencing at Bristol Crown Court Ms Hancock said: “My message to owners of dogs like these is ‘be careful because your pet could be a loaded gun’,

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“They can appear to be a perfect family pet, but beware as they are bred to be guard dogs.

“If they get out they may not just attack someone, it could be fatal.

“When I ran for help following the attack I was told the elderly man who helped was walking his dog just half an hour before I was out with Cassie and he could have ended up even worse than me.

“People don’t realise how bad the consequences can be if these dogs carry out what they are bred to do.

“The community penalty imposed on Monday wasn’t great, but there is a fairly significant financial contribution that has to be paid.

“My main concern was that the dogs were not kept together but I understand they have been separated. I believe one has been sold to someone in France and another was put down due to ill health.

“The one that remains is said to be the most docile.”

It took less than an hour for the jury to decide its unanimous verdict at the end of a four-day trial.

Prosecutor Simon Morgan described how Ms Hancock had seen the animals before the day of the attack when she had been walking Cassie with her husband and had described them at that time as ‘crashing against the fence’ and ‘almost crazed’.

When the animals attacked her, one dog clamped down on her arm and tried to pull her around, while the other two attacked Cassie.

Another knocked her to the ground, biting her all over her head and face, while she buried her head into the ground to try to protect her eyes.

When she saw there was nothing she could do to save her pet, she took a brief chance to flee and get help from a nearby house.

Ms Hancock was left with several bites to her arm, deep slashes around the back of her neck and head, a ripped ear and a slash from under her nose down to her lip.

Cassie died as a result of multiple fractures and lacerations.

Just 18 months earlier one of the dogs had escaped and attacked Gareth Edwards who was walking with his girlfriend in the woods.

The attack had left Mr Edwards needing stitches after the animal bit through his clothing.

The charge related to the fact that Avery had not fulfilled her responsibility to leave the animals in the care of someone who could adequately supervise them each day.

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