A farmer has appeared in court after a woman was bitten so badly by his dogs she needed a skin graft.

Catherine Buckley was savaged by the two pets when they escaped from the outside pen they were kept in at the smallholding in Scammonden.

The injury to the 33-year-old’s arm was so severe that she could see her bone.

Owner Ronald Norcliffe pleaded guilty to allowing his dogs to be dangerously out of control in public at Kirklees Magistrates’ Court.

It was the 69-year-old’s third conviction related to animals owned by him in six years.

In 2009 he was fined for keeping his cows in the dark.

Prosecutor Andy Wills said that on July 26, Ms Buckley, of Bailiff Bridge, was driving along New Hey Road near to the Scammonden farm.

She saw a dog running loose in the middle of the road and stopped and got out of her car. The dog jumped over a fence by Mr Norcliffe’s property but then two dogs jumped back on to the road and struck.

Ms Wills said: “They immediately set about and attacked Ms Buckley. One dog had hold of her right arm and would not let go.

“It bit right through the flesh to the bone, tearing a 9cm x 4cm piece of flesh from her arm.

“The second dog was hanging off her left arm and she thought it was going to bite her thumb off.”

Catherine Buckley of Bailiff Bridge, bitten by dog
Catherine Buckley of Bailiff Bridge, bitten by dog
 

Mr Wills said that Norcliffe came out of his home and Ms Buckley told him what had happened.

Mr Wills said: “He said to her: ‘What did you get out of your car for? You should have just run it over’.”

Norcliffe then told her to move her car as it was blocking the road before taking her car keys off her to do so himself.

Paramedics treated Ms Buckley after they were assured that the dogs were secured and she was taken to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary.

Mr Wills said: “As a result of the injuries she received she had to have a skin graft to cover her right arm.”

The dogs were named by Norcliffe as Barney and Old Josh and described as a mixture of different breeds and aged between five and seven.

Norcliffe was last in court in October 2009 when he was fined for failing to meet the “psychological and ethological” needs of a cow and a calf.

He admitted breaching the Animal Welfare Act by not providing adequate lighting in their barn.

In November 2007 he was banned from keeping goats for 10 years after admitting causing unnecessary suffering.

Bob Carr, mitigating, said that Norcliffe’s pets had never escaped before and he believed his fencing was secure.

Mr Carr said that Norcliffe had become a farmer after his father and grandfather and described his way of life as fairly basic.

His animal collection also includes two cockerels, 18 hens, seven ducks, a bullock and a heifer.

Mr Carr said: “He has been left with this smallholding in the middle of nowhere – he lives a hermit life.

“He doesn’t have means of electricity, his generator works on and off and it’s almost as if he’s living in the 1940s rather than 2013.”

Magistrates made an order for Barney and Old Josh to be destroyed. They sentenced Norcliffe to a three-month suspended prison sentence and told him to pay Ms Buckley £500 compensation.