A nine-year-old girl was bitten on the face by a dog which had escaped from the control of its owner.

Blackburn magistrates heard the girl was left with scars on her forehead and cheek after being attacked by the collie cross whippet.

The dog’s owner, Simon Payne, admitted losing control of the dog after it was “spooked” despite it being on a lead.

Payne, 41, of Grasmere Close, Huncoat, pleaded guilty to being in charge of a dog which was dangerously out of control.

He was ordered to pay £1,200 compensation to the victim by Deputy District Judge Andrew Teate who said he was prepared to accept it was an “entirely isolated incident".

He said he had read references and the pre-sentence report and it was clear Payne was “a thoroughly decent individual".

Steven Botell, prosecuting, said the girl had been walking to school with her mother.

The dog came running down Bolton Avenue, Huncoat, dragging its lead behind it.

The mother tried to get hold of the lead but missed. She then heard her daughter screaming, the court was told.

“She ran towards the screams and found her daughter with blood pouring from wounds to her face,” said Mr Botell.

“The dog had knocked one of her friend’s children off his scooter before attacking her daughter.”

Rabina Ditta, defending, said her client had taken on the dog as a family pet just two weeks before the incident.

“He had walked it regularly on this same road and it had never shown any inclination to do anything like this,” said Miss Ditta.

“He has suffered a great deal of anguish as a result of this incident and I don’t anticipate him troubling the courts again.”