A dog has narrowly avoided being put down after escaping its owner’s house and attacking a couple out walking on Christmas Day.

Bolton Crown Court heard this week how the pooch, a German Shepherd crossbreed named Bodie, escaped from the home of Ian Orrell when someone left a door open during a party.

Bodie then ran to a couple out walking with their own dogs and bit a woman’s arm, piercing three layers of clothes and puncturing her skin three times.

Peter Malone, prosecuting, said: “She relives the incident daily, she describes being anxious when walking her dogs.

“She says she feels unable to protect the dogs and the scars remind her of the incident.”

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Mr Malone also told the court how Orrell's pet had attacked the couple’s Springer Spaniel, trying to bite its head and also tried to attack the other dog, a Cocker Spaniel, before biting the woman holding its lead’s arm.

The woman had to go to hospital for antibiotics and a tetanus shot. During the attack, Orrell, 73, was “nowhere to be seen” but eventually arrived and brought Bodie under control.

Orrell, of Carr Brook Drive, Atherton, was then interviewed by police on February 11 and admitted possession of a dangerous dog which caused injury at the first opportunity.

Hannah Forsythe, defending, explained how Orrell had contacted dog experts even before the prosecution began to find out how Bodie could be kept safely.

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The court heard Orrell, who is retired and takes part in regular charity work, had never been in trouble with the law before and wished to apologise.

Ms Forsythe said he had always taken every effort to make sure Bodie was looked after safely and his escape on Christmas day was down to "a momentary lapse in control".

Judge Tom Gilbart ordered Orrell to pay a fine of £200 along with £300 in compensation for the victim.

He also issued an order for Bodie, meaning he would be put down unless he was neutered, insured for third party liability, kept on a lead in public, muzzled in public and only walked by people over 16.