Walsall Man Admits Dance-Attack Dog Charges

12 May 2015, 17:22 | Updated: 30 March 2016, 13:50

A dog owner from Walsall has admitted failing to control a bull terrier which injured two Morris dancers while biting at their bells and ribbons.

Matthew Spooner did not even stop to apologise after his dog, named Mia, sank its teeth into the ankles of two women dancing at a festival.

Walsall Magistrates' Court was told that one victim needed three stitches to treat an ankle injury, while another suffered a bruise and two puncture wounds.

Spooner pleaded guilty to two counts of being in charge of a dog dangerously out of control and faces a possible jail term when he is sentenced on June 3.

The unemployed 35-year-old, of Burrows Street, Walsall, claims to have given Mia away to a traveller in Walsall's Arboretum after it attacked the dancers on April 24.

Opening the facts of the case, prosecutor Jenny Windsor said police had since seized a dog from Spooner, which he said was Mia's twin sister Tia.

Police officers noted that the seized terrier appeared to be smaller than the dog involved in the incident, and to have different colouring on its nose.

Describing how the offending dog was not on a lead when it attacked the Morris troupe, Ms Windsor told the court: "The two victims were participating in a festival in Walsall town centre at about 10.30am.

"The dog approached and began biting at the bells and ribbons that were attached to their feet.''

After the first victim was injured in St Pauls Street, the court heard, Spooner was seen to walk away with the dog, saying nothing by way of apology.

But the animal reappeared shortly afterwards and again snapped at a dancer's ankles.

Spooner, who has previous convictions for dishonesty and violence, was told that a custodial sentence will be considered at the next hearing.

Before being granted unconditional bail, the dog owner interrupted submissions by his solicitor, Ian Henry, to point out that Mia had been a family pet.

Wearing blue jeans, trainers, and a dark hooded coat, Spooner told Mr Henry: "It was the bells and the sticks. She slipped the lead, mate.''

Both victims are members of Glorishears of Brummagem, which performs traditional Cotswold Morris dances.

A spokeswoman for the Birmingham-based group, which was founded in 1979, said it had not encountered a similar problem before.

"We are glad it has been dealt with and hopefully it will never happen again,'' the spokeswoman said.