Ako Saleh in court after Japanese Akita he had owned for only two hours attacked a woman

Helen Lodge was left scarred for life after the pet - bought for just £20 - attacked her by a church near to Greenhead Park

Kirklees Magistrate's Court
Kirklees Magistrate's Court

A woman was left scarred for life after a dog savaged her arm as she walked through a churchyard.

Helen Lodge, 54, says she still suffers from nightmares after the Japanese Akita attacked her.

The dog was bought just two hours before the incident by owner Ako Saleh for just £20.

The animal - which later disappeared after being tied up in nearby Greenhead Park - will be destroyed.

Kirklees magistrates heard that at 11am on April 22, Ms Lodge was walking through the grounds of Holy Trinity Church on Trinity Street.

She was collecting rubbish when she came across 22-year-old Saleh and the dog.

As she reached over a wall and without warning the dog lunged towards her, prosecutor James Weekes said.

He told magistrates: “She could feel it gnawing, grinding against her wrist. The dog wouldn’t let go and she could see blood flowing from her arm”.

With the help of Saleh, of Town Avenue in Bradley Mills, Ms Lodge managed to get free.

She suffered deep puncture wounds to her wrist and was taken to Bradford Royal Infirmary for treatment.

Ms Lodge said that she had been left scarred for life. She also described the psychological and physical problems that she has suffered as a result of the attack.

In a victim impact statement read out in court she said: “I have nightmares of a dog taking my hand in its mouth. I have no proper control of my fingers and my wrist is still swollen and not usable. It is not a nice sight to see on a woman’s hand - I’m going to be scarred for life.”

Ms Lodge added that she also suffers from stress and anxiety and is always on edge.

Saleh pleaded guilty to a charge of allowing a dog to be dangerously out of control in public and cause injury.

Following the attack he tied the dog to fencing in Greenhead Park but when he returned it had gone.

Saleh said that he later traced the pet and took it to a kennels in Ossett.

Andrew Sugden, mitigating, said that the dog was on the lead at the time of the incident and his client claimed that Ms Lodge tried to stroke him.

He said: “He had the dog for two hours when she got bit, paid £20 for it and now wishes he’d never had it in the first place.

“There was a lack of experience, it was quite a strong dog and it took him some time to remove it from the complainant.

“He has been bitten by a dog in the past and can empathise with her.”

Magistrates made an order for the destruction of the dog and banned Saleh from keeping dogs for five years.

Saleh must comply with a 16-week curfew between 7pm and 7am and pay Ms Lodge £350 compensation.

 
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