A DOG that bit its pregnant owner has received a last minute reprieve - just days before it was due to be destroyed.

Bolton Magistrates Court had ordered Ellie, a two-year-old Staffordshire bull terrier, to be put down by January 12, 2020, following an incident last June when she attacked expectant mother, Shannon Bretherton, in the family home in Farnworth.

But following an appeal against the order, held at Bolton Crown Court, Ellie will now be transferred to an unnamed facility designed to house dangerous and stray dogs.

The court heard that on June 13 last year, emergency services were called to an address on St Gregory’s Close, where they found Miss Bretherton, who was 24 weeks pregnant, with four puncture wounds to her right arm.

Witness PC Shaw said that when he arrived, Miss Bretherton’s partner, Shane Poole, had seemed “agitated and aggressive” and had “approached in a forceful manner”.

The officer had asked Miss Bretherton what happened and she said: “I was putting the dog in the bedroom when it’s eyes went black and it just flipped.”

The Bolton News:

Mr Poole, who was found to be the owner of a dog which was dangerously out of control at Bolton Magistrates Court on November 11, later told the officer “the dog’s got to go, it’s done this before” and showed him injuries to his arms which he later claimed he had suffered in work.

The court also heard of a separate incident in January last year when police were called by a neighbour who had heard the couple arguing.

On arrival officers had found Mr Poole bleeding following what was believed to be another dog bite but he had refused to report it.

Adding that kennel fees had already cost the public £3,000, Sarah Thomson, prosecutor, added: “Mr Poole has a consistent history of violent and disorderly behaviour over a long time. It would suggest he has a tendency to violence in difficult situations.”

Appearing as an expert witness for the defence, animal behaviourist Debbie Connolly, told the court she had carried out extensive tests on Ellie after she was seized and found that the dog “showed no aggression”.

“The worst she did was a half-hearted air snap,” said Ms Connolly, who added that she felt the scratches on Ms Bretherton’s arms could have been caused by the dog’s paws rather than its teeth.

When asked by Sarah Porter, defending, if she felt Ellie was dangerous, Ms Connolly replied: “No. I cannot find that this dog is dangerous.”

Suggesting that the dog was moved away to kennels rather than destroyed, Ms Porter, added: “Ellie’s behaviour has never been aggressive and this incident happened at a point of high energy. She has never done anything in public and away from the influence of Mr Poole the dog has not put a foot wrong.

The Bolton News:

“I stand by the fact that away from that environment the dog is not dangerous.”

Upholding the appeal, Judge Graeme Smith, said: “Ellie is dangerous in a particular environment and it would be totally inappropriate to stay in that environment.”

Mr Smith ordered the transfer of ownership of Ellie from Mr Poole to the unnamed facility and added that the dog should be spayed, kept on a leash when outside and that any future owner be made aware of her history.

An order for Mr Poole to pay costs of £1,781.45 to Greater Manchester Police was withdrawn but he will be disqualified from keeping a dog for five years.