A DOG-OWNER attacked her neighbour and threatened to stab her during an argument about their pets.

Laura Sayce, of Starcliffe Street, pinned Stephanie Heywood against a wall and hit her around the head, while Sayce’s partner Michael Hardman watched on.

Sayce and Hardman’s pet dog then also attacked Ms Heywood, scratching her back and ragging her arm.

The incident occurred when Ms Heywood heard a disturbance outside her house on February 19 of this year, and was said to be concerned for the wellbeing of her cat.

She claimed when she headed outside, she saw that her cat had been cornered by a dog belonging to the couple.

The dog, which is a Labrador crossed with a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, unsuccessfully attempted to grab the tail of Ms Heywood’s cat, which managed to run away.

After the cat fled, Sayce, 30, pinned Ms Heywood against a wall and said: “I’ll stab you in a minute”.

Ms Heywood said she heard laughter as Sayce hit her around the head and that Sayce’s partner Hardman, 33, was watching the incident as well.

As she tried to get away and return home, the dog, named Buster, jumped up and scratched her back before ragging her arm, causing it to bleed.

During a sentencing hearing at Bolton Crown Court, barrister Anthony Stephenson claimed that Ms Heywood “no longer feels safe going outside alone” and that the attack has left her feeling anxious and paranoid.

He added that the sustained and repeated nature of the attack was an aggravating factor.

Mr Ronay, defending Sayce, described the incident as “an ugly event” but said its one that is “extremely unlikely to happen again”.

He described Sayce as a nervous lady, who has difficulty dealing with stressful situations, and suffers from learning difficulties including dyslexia and dyspraxia.

A dog expert said the dog was not dangerous and that the owners were both “fit and proper”. Mr Ronay added that there had been no previous issues with the dog and there have been no other incidents since.

Defending Hardman, Elizabeth Evans said the couple had already taken steps to make the dog less of a threat, including buying a harness. She added that they were also saving to buy a muzzle and install a gate.

Passing sentence for possessing a dangerous dog out of control, and common assault, Judge Timothy Stead issued both defendants with nine month community orders and 20 day rehabilitation activity requirements.

Mr Stead also issued a contingent destruction order for the dog, meaning it will have to be on a lead and muzzled at all times, when in a public place.