Page last updated at 22:18 GMT, Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Police horse attack dog muzzled

Rosie and Toffee
The horses were treated by vets for serious wounds

A woman in charge of a dog which attacked two police horses in Essex has been ordered to muzzle the animal and pay £85 court costs.

Rosie and Toffee were on a routine patrol in Northgate, Harlow, on 28 October when they were attacked by Blue, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

Louise Reilly, 43, of Purford Green, Harlow, was sentenced by Harlow magistrates in civil proceedings.

She admitted being in charge of a dog dangerously out of control.

Police horse Rosie needed 40 stitches and may never return to duty, the court heard.

Stuart Cooper, representing Reilly, told the court the dog, owned by her daughter Sarah, was a puppy and probably scared by the horses after seeing them for the first time.

Reilly had gone for a drink with an old friend at pub chain Wetherspoons before letting him off, the court heard.

Emergency roadside surgery

It was then that the horses came round the corner and the attack occurred.

Mr Cooper said it was Reilly's own actions that resulted in the police tracking her down. She had phoned to ask how the horses and officers were.

Prosecutor Anthea Soares told the court the incident began after the dog began "nipping" the horses feet causing them to move from "side to side."

The court was told Reilly had told the dog to stop it but it bit Rosie causing the horse to go into a "mad panic."

The attack resulted in one of Rosie's main arteries being cut, which needed emergency roadside surgery.

Both riders were thrown off and taken to hospital suffering bruising to their backs and legs.

Chairman of the bench Richard Morgan said: "We're very sorry this happened and must prevent it happening again.

"If children had been present they could have been bitten. We're very concerned but our powers are limited."



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