A dog owner from East Lancashire has lost a long-running legal battle to prevent her pit bull terrier from being destroyed.

The High Court has heard Lancashire Police originally seized two dogs from Kayleigh Dawson, called Storm and Lightning, under the Dangerous Dogs Act in June 2019.

Lightning, found to be a pit bull terrier, was returned to Dawson on condition he was neutered, microchipped, and always on a lead and muzzled while in public.

However, the court heard Lightning and Storm escaped from the property of Dawson, who is understood to come from Darwen, in February 2020.

Lightning attacked a dog being walked nearby “biting him by the neck, forcing him to the ground", the court was told.

When the dog’s owner tried to intervene, Lightning also bit him. Police had to use a "debilitating spray" to end the attack.

Storm was also recovered by the authorities that same day, but an application to seize her was not properly made by the police.

Lightning was returned briefly to Dawson between May and December 2020, but police later found out Dawson had failed to notify a change of address, as required, and Lightning had remained without third party insurance for six days.

Dawson tried unsuccessfully to overturn the destruction order on Lightning at Preston Crown Court in November 2021.

Her lawyers then appealed to the High Court, sitting in Manchester, for a judicial review, claiming the lower court had failed to properly consider police evidence over Lightning’s ‘friendly and engaging’ presentation, the ‘dog on dog’ nature of the February 2020 incident, and that Dawson was a ‘fit and proper person’ to own the dog.

Cathryn McGahey KC said the February 2020 escape came after Dawson's relatives, concerned they had not seen her for some time, unbolted a gate at her property.

But Mr Justice Fordham said it was clear the crown court had taken all of these factors into account and Dawson remained liable.

Dawson had now appealed against Mr Justice Fordham's judicial review ruling.

Ms McGahey argued the crown court judge had erred in holding Lightning to a higher standard as a prohibited dog, and mistakenly believing the pit bull had committed a previous attack.

She also told the court her client remained a 'fit and proper person' to keep the dog and the destruction order was arguably 'manifestly excessive'.

Lord Justice Lewison, sitting with Lady Justice Macur and Lord Justice Stuart-Smith, said the crown court had correctly applied a dangerousness test and a key factor had been what happened when Lightning got free without a muzzle.

The February 2020 incident had involved "persistent serious aggression over a number of minutes", it was noted.

Dismissing the review bid, he added: "In my judgment the crown court was entitled to come to the conclusion that it did for the reasons it gave."