The dog, named Leia, is believed to have bitten its owner’s attacker on his bottom and legs while the pair were embroiled in a street fight in summer 2020 in Staffordshire.
The fight broke out when one of the men, Barzan Shekzade, drove past Leia’s owner Marcin Pluta – who was on a bike and walking his three dogs.
Mr Shekzade decided to challenge Pluta over remarks he had allegedly made about his wife, Walsall Magistrates Court was told.
District Judge Stephen Flint said Mr Pluta, then 43, “abandoned his dogs”, which were off their leads, and walked across the road before punching Mr Shekzade in the face through his car window.
After the attack, the defendant began walking across the road back to his dogs before Shekzade “got out his car with a baseball bat, made of aluminium, and crossed the road to Mr Pluta”, the Judge confirmed.
Mr Pluta then began filming the victim as he made his way over with the metal bat.
The Judge told the court: “Mr Shekzade attacked Mr Pluta with the baseball bat”.
“Whilst Mr Pluta fought with Mr Shekzade and tried to wrestle the baseball bat away from him, the dogs were jumping up, and Leia – the Staffordshire Bull Terrier – bit Mr Shekzade numerous times on his legs and around his buttocks area.
“Mr Pluta then managed to get the baseball bat off Mr Shekzade and he hit him with it numerous (times) on the shoulder, causing minor injuries.
“Mr Pluta then left the scene with the baseball bat and his three dogs. He himself had suffered injuries because he was hit with the baseball bat.”
The victim, who said he was bitten by the dog more than 20 times, had suffered injuries to his left eye, which reportedly needed glueing in hospital, as well as scratches on his back.
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Pluta was charged with assaulting a person causing actual bodily harm, being in control of a dog that was dangerously out of control and caused injury, and using threatening words to cause alarm and distress.
Mr Vaughan Whistance, who was defending Pluta, said he owned six Staffordshire Bull Terriers which he kept in individual cages at his house.
When the police arrested Pluta, they saw how the dogs were kept and decided they were homed safely.
In ordinary circumstances, the Judge would have ordered for Leia to be put down but mitigating factors prevented him from doing so.
The dog came to the owner’s defence and had never previously shown violent behaviour, the court heard.
Judge Flint told Pluta: “Whilst you started the violence and got the dogs excited, it is mitigation that Leia attacked when you were being attacked with a baseball bat.”
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Mr Flint, instead, ordered a “contingent destruction order” which means Leia can only be walked on a lead while wearing a muzzle, and must only be accompanied in public by someone over 18. The order also means Leia must be insured.
The defendant was given a 21-week prison sentence, suspended for one year, and ordered to pay £250 compensation to Mr Shekzade, £620 prosecution costs and a £120 court surcharge. He must also partake in 12 rehabilitation sessions and complete 100 hours of unpaid work.
In the UK there are laws against owning certain dog breeds, which are banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act. This includes the Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino and Fila Brasileiro.
However, Staffordshire Bull Terriers like Pluta’s are described as a similar breed to pit bulls but are smaller and are allowed as pets in the UK. This is despite a number of fatal attacks associated with the breed.
In the UK, the maximum term for people convicted of dangerous dog offences – including ownership of a banned dog – is 14 years if the victim is killed and five years where someone is injured, according to Sentencing Guidelines.
Additional reporting by Jamie Brassington