The dog, named Leia, allegedly bit her owner’s attacker on the bottom and legs as the couple were involved in a street fight in the summer of 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 bicycle and walking his three dogs.
Mr Shekzade decided to challenge Pluta for remarks he allegedly made about his wife, Walsall Magistrates Court heard.
District Judge Stephen Flint said Mr Pluta, then 43, ‘left his dogs’, who were off leash, and crossed the road before punching Mr Shekzade in the face through the window of his car.
After the attack, the defendant started crossing the road to join his dogs before Shekzade “got out of his car with an aluminum baseball bat and crossed the road towards Mr Pluta”, the judge confirmed.
Mr Pluta then began filming the victim as he walked towards the metal bat.
The judge told the court, “Mr. Shekzade attacked Mr. Pluta with the baseball bat.”
“While Mr Pluta wrestled with Mr Shekzade and tried to wrestle the baseball bat away from him, the dogs jumped up and Leia – the Staffordshire Bull Terrier – bit Mr Shekzade repeatedly on his legs and around his buttocks.
“Mr. Pluta then managed to pull Mr. Shekzade’s baseball bat away and struck him repeatedly in the shoulder, causing minor injuries.
“Mr. Pluta then left the scene with the baseball bat and his three dogs. He himself had been injured because he had been hit with the baseball bat.”
The victim, who said he was bitten by the dog more than 20 times, suffered injuries to his left eye, which should have been patched up in hospital, as well as scratches to his back.
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Pluta was charged with assaulting a person causing actual bodily harm, controlling a dog that was dangerously out of control and causing injury, and using threatening words to cause alarm and distress.
Mr Vaughan Whistance, who defended Pluta, said he owned six Staffordshire Bull Terriers which he kept in individual cages at his home.
When the police arrested Pluta, they saw how the dogs were being guarded and decided they were safely housed.
Under ordinary circumstances, the judge would have ordered Leia to be shot but extenuating circumstances prevented him from doing so.
The dog came to the owner’s defense and had never shown violent behavior before, the court heard.
Judge Flint told Pluta: “While you started the violence and excited the dogs, it was a mitigation that Leia attacked when you were attacked with a baseball bat.”
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Instead, Mr Flint ordered a ‘contingent destruction order’, which means Leia can only be walked on a leash while wearing a muzzle and must only be accompanied in public by someone over the age of 18 years old. The order also means that Leia must be secured.
The defendant was sentenced to 21 weeks in prison, suspended for one year, and ordered to pay Mr Shekzade £250 compensation, £620 prosecution costs and £120 surcharge. He must also participate in 12 rehabilitation sessions and perform 100 hours of unpaid work.
In the UK there are laws against owning certain breeds of dogs, which are prohibited under the Dangerous Dogs Act. This includes the Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino, and Fila Brasileiro.
However, Staffordshire Bull Terriers like Pluta are described as a breed similar to pit bulls, but are smaller and are allowed as pets in the UK. This despite a number of fatal attacks associated with the breed.
In the UK, the maximum sentence for those convicted of dangerous dog offenses – including possession of a prohibited dog – is 14 years if the victim is killed and five years if someone is injured. , per sentencing guidelines.
Additional reporting by Jamie Brassington