A JAPANESE fighting dog bit a woman as she tried to protect her 12-year-old Jack Russell which was being “ragged around like a doll.”

Blackburn magistrates heard the akita’s owner, Lee Andrew Fullard, ignored the woman’s pleas for him to put the dog on a lead as it approached her and her pet.

Fullard, who had a previous conviction resulting from a dog attack, was told he had narrowly avoided a prison sentence.

But his dog, which it was accepted did not start the fight, was given the death penalty.

District Judge James Clarke made the destruction order against Kimbo despite hearing there had been no previous incidents and nothing in the 10 months since the incident outside Belvedere and Calder Vale Sports Club in Burnley.

Fullard, 32, of Rothesay Road, Brierfield, pleaded guilty to being in charge of Kimbo which was dangerously out of control, and while it was out of control injured Sheirylee Clarke-Harrison.

He was sentenced to 18 weeks in prison suspended for 12 months with 20 days' rehabilitation activity requirement and ordered to pay £600 compensation. The Judge ordered the dog to be destroyed within 28 days.

Fullard said after the hearing that he was appealing the decision and hoped to overturn the order.

Parveen Akhtar, prosecuting, said the incident happened at 8.15am as Mrs Clarke-Harrison was walking her dog, Joe.

She saw the akita off the lead and walking towards her. She shouted at the man with the dog to get it on a lead.

He didn’t react and made no attempt to stop the dog approaching. It was accepted that when the akita came close the Jack Russell snapped at it and they started fighting.

Mrs Clarke-Harrison described how the larger dog got hold of her pet and started “ragging it around like a doll.” As she attempted to break them up she was bitten on the hand by the akita which then went behind her and bit her on the leg and thigh.

Fullard eventually got hold of his dog and left.

Mrs Clarke-Harrison made a victim impact statement in which she said she had a fear of dogs after being bitten on a number of occasions. She got Joe to help with the fear.

Following the attack she was off work for two weeks and started suffering panic and anxiety attacks. She self-referred to Minds Matter and paid for hypnotherapy.

Geoff Ireland, defending, said Fullard had been out with the dog and his partner’s two children.

“He didn’t hear the lady raising concerns about his dog and that may have been because he was distracted by the children,” said Mr Ireland.

He said the previous conviction involving a dog had been in 2012. Fullard was fighting with another man in the street and his dog bit the man.

“This incident happened 10 months ago and there has been no complaint about the dog since,” said Mr Ireland.

“He always keeps it on the lead now and is genuinely remorseful about what has taken place," he added.

“Obviously you are obliged to consider a destruction order but perhaps you would consider a contingent destruction order,” he added.