THE owner of a vicious and out of control canine was sentenced yesterday at magistrates’ court.

Deirdre Croft, 50, of Makinson Avenue, Horwich, pleaded guilty to being the owner of an out of control dog on December 23, 2020.

Victim Melissa Hartley was walking along the street in the middle of the day when she stopped to talk to a neighbour - before both her and her Staffordshire Bull Terrier, were attacked.

Tina Cunnane, prosecuting, said: “A Jack Russell Terrier came running out of a front garden and attacked Ms Hartley’s dog, Pia, in an aggressive manner.”

“Moments later, the defendant came stumbling out of the house, clearly under the influence of alcohol, and fell over trying to diffuse the situation.

“Ms Hartley was later taken to Royal Bolton Hospital to be treated for her wounds, which turned septic a few weeks later - requiring further treatment at an urgent care centre.”

The court heard the victim is still struggling seven months on from the attack - being unable to hold a cup of tea properly, which affects her work at a cafe which she owns.

And she takes longer routes when walking her dog, who now struggles with mobility, in her neighbourhood because she is scared to walk past the scene of the attack.

In mitigation, defence lawyer Natasha McGarr told the court: “My client has no recollection of this event whatsoever. She has complex needs.

“Her partner died just days before this incident and her dad died earlier that year. She turned to alcohol as a coping mechanism.

“She has since entered a new relationship with a man who is very supportive - and is now abstaining from alcohol.

“She would be unsuitable for unpaid work and would struggle to pay a fine.”

David Harrison, chairman of the bench, told Croft: “This case is so serious that custody is the only option. You were under the influence when your dog attacked the victim, which is entirely unacceptable.”

Croft was given a four month prison sentence, suspended for a year, and must complete 30 rehabilitation activity requirement days.

She was also ordered to pay £750 in compensation, and must keep her Jack Russell Tyler on a leash, muzzled, at all times when he is not in the house.