AN alcoholic whose dog savaged a police officer has been spared jail - and a judge has ruled her dog should not be destroyed.

Sandra Wardle's Staffordshire Bull Terrier cross Kinzi left one of its teeth embedded in the hand of PC Ruth Syers after the horrific attack in Rylands Street, Burnley, last April.

The officer, who had to have surgery, told afterwards how she could still see the animal's teeth inches from her face.

Wardle, said to also suffer from anxiety and depression, had already been convicted of having a dog dangerously out of control in public in 2012, involving the same animal.

Wardle, of Cardinal Street, Burnley, had earlier admitted the latest offence at the town's crown court. She had pleaded guilty to being the owner of a dog which caused injury while dangerously out of control.

The 59-year-old, who had been in custody three days after she was arrested on a warrant for failing to appear for sentence last Thursday, was given four months in jail, suspended for a year with 12 months' supevision. She was banned from owning a dog for six years.

Recorder Michael Blakey read a defence report from animal behavioural expert Dr David Sands, which concluded Kinzi was not a danger to the public while under the control of a responsible handler.

The judge said: "I am not satisfied, based on the information that I have, that the dog is a danger to the public when in safe hands."

Abigail Hudson, prosecuting, told the court the defendant rang the police, because she was very drunk and arguing with her friend. Officers attended and tried to speak to the occupants, but the moment the door was opened, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier crossbreed went to attack the police.

Probation officer Nicholas Powell, who interviewed Wardle, said she had had three children, two of whom had died.

Philip Holden, defending, told the court: "She has been very, very tearful.”