AN ELDERLY man’s hand was badly bitten as he tried to save his pet from a dog in Blackrod Cemetery.

Bolton magistrates heard how Christopher Hall had been walking his own dog, Josh, in the cemetery at 6.30pm on June 22 when it was attacked by a Staffordshire Bull Terrier named Alfie.

Tess Kenyon, prosecuting, said: “He was about 15 yards away from the main exit to the cemetery when a white Staffordshire Bull Terrier rapidly entered and leapt immediately upon his dog, Josh.

“He watched as the dog seized his dog to the chest lifting his front end off the floor, biting the dog and shaking its body.

“His dog was still on a lead and had no chance to escape and the Staffie was wild, showing no signs of easing up.”

Mr Hall tried to pull the terrier’s collar to get him off his dog but it bit his right hand.

“He describes excruciating pain,” said Miss Kenyon, who added that the pensioner subsequently had to make several trips to hospital for treatment, including stitches and may have suffered a permanent injury to his hand.

The terrier’s owner, Mark Sixsmith, arrived on the scene 30 seconds later.

Sixsmith, a 50-year-old postman, of Hillside Avenue, Blackrod, pleaded guilty to being the owner of a dog which was dangerously out of control and caused an injury.

Peter Leather, defending, said Sixsmith and his family have owned their dog for seven years since he was a puppy.

“There is certainly no history of this particular dog ever having bitten a human before,” he said.

Mr Leather told how Sixsmith had been walking his two dogs but Alfie managed to escape.

“Unfortunately the lead on the dog in question snapped, the dog, therefore, becomes free and chases after the victim’s dog,” he said.

Sixsmith still has the dog and the court heard that the police are not seeking to have it destroyed.

Mr Leather stressed that Sixsmith has now bought a strong harness and metal lead for his pet.

“There is absolutely no risk now to anyone. The dog is very well cared for by members of the family,” said Mr Leather.

Sentence was adjourned until December 18 in order for more evidence about Mr Hall’s injuries to be obtained.