Page last updated at 12:51 GMT, Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Pet owners warned after guide dog attack sentencing

ed CCTV footage of a blind woman's guide dog being attacked

British Transport Police released CCTV footage of a blind woman's guide dog being savaged

Dog owners have been warned they must control their animals when in public after a man whose pet savaged a guide dog received a suspended jail term.

John-Jo Madden, 18, of north London, was also banned from keeping dogs for 10 years after admitting possessing a dangerous dog in a public place.

Hendon magistrates heard his terrier-type dog wounded a Labrador at London's Cricklewood station last year.

The dog suffered puncture wounds to her neck but has since fully recovered.

Madden, of Gospel Oak, was jailed for three months, suspended for two years, at Tuesday's hearing.

He was also ordered to undertake 150 hours of unpaid work and pay £1,200 compensation to the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association and £500 to the owner.

'Horrific' assault

The guide dog's 57-year-old owner was left deeply shocked when her chocolate Labrador, named Neela, was attacked in October.

The woman was walking through an underpass at the station when her dog was pinned to the ground in a three-minute attack by the unleashed animal.

Neela needed emergency treatment to puncture wounds to her neck but has since fully recovered.

Madden was traced when investigators released CCTV images of him drinking from a can of beer and loitering in the area.

Guide dog Neela
Neela required emergency veterinary care after the attack

He admitted one offence of possessing a dangerous dog in a public place under the Dangerous Dogs Act.

The dog involved has not been found after Madden gave it away and magistrates have issued an order for its destruction.

Det Cons Gerry Griffin, of British Transport Police (BTP), said the case sent a strong message about the responsibilities of dog ownership.

"The incident clearly illustrates the importance of making sure that dogs are under the control of their owners at all times, particularly in public places such as railway stations," he said.

Neela's owner, who wishes to remain anonymous, said guide dogs like hers were "invaluable".

Describing the attack she said: "To be unable to see the assault was horrific and terrifying."

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