A BUILDER whose dogs escaped and killed a farmer’s pedigree sheep has been fined by Bolton magistrates.

Sean Stockton was fined £200 after a judge heard how his two Akita dogs escaped from his home at Aldreds Farm, Jacks Lane, Westhoughton, on September 20 last year and attacked Sally-Anne Skellern as she tried to save her friends’ two Jack Russells from their attack.

The top of her finger was bitten off and one of the Jack Russells later died, Bolton Crown Court heard.

Stockton, aged 48, pleaded guilty to being the owner of a dog dangerously out of control in a public place which caused injury.

He was fined a further £205 after admitting being the owner of a dog worrying livestock.

Nicola Ormerod, prosecuting, told the court that, earlier on the day Ms Skellern had been bitten, the dogs savaged a pedigree Lleyn sheep to death, ripping its throat out, in a field at Radcliffe House Farm in Dodd Lane, Westhoughton.

Miss Ormerod said that at 4pm Stockton sent text messages to his neighbours to warn them his dogs had escaped, but at 5.30pm farmer Philip Hibbert received a phone call from a member of his family to tell him a sheep had been killed.

Mr Hibbert was in the field moving the sheep carcass when he spotted Stockton’s Akitas.

“Both dogs are described as having blood to their faces,” said Miss Ormerod.

She added that Stockton visited the farm where Mr Hibbert warned him he would shoot the dogs if he saw them.

The Akita owner replied: “If you shoot those dogs I’ll shoot you.”

Stockton managed to recapture the dogs that night and they were seized by police five days later.

Glen Wrigley, defending, said Stockton was a responsible dog owner and there had never been a similar incident.

He added that Stockton denied threatening to shoot Mr Hibbert.

In addition to the fine, magistrates ordered Stockton to pay £160 compensation to Mr Hibbert for the dead sheep, £85 prosecution costs and a £20 victim surcharge as well as £3,000 towards the £7,000 bill for kennelling his two Akitas.