Page last updated at 11:44 GMT, Monday, 22 September 2008 12:44 UK

Legal claim over 'dog bite' row

Mark Monroe and his dog Jack
Mr Monroe returned home to find the fingertip

A Labour Party campaigner is suing a dog owner for 15,000 over claims his pet bit off his finger.

Brian Hunter, 65, said the dog bit off the tip of his little finger as he delivered a leaflet to a house in Kielder Place, Lemington, Newcastle.

Mark Monroe, 44, is fighting the claim, saying his letterbox guard makes it "impossible" for his dog Jack to bite.

He said he stored the fingertip in his freezer after finding it on his doormat, but the owner never returned.

Mr Monroe said: "When I came in there was the finger lying on the floor, cleanly sliced off.

"I wrapped it up in a food bag and put it in the freezer and waited for the owner to come back and collect it, so that he could have it stitched on - but he never came back.

"Jack is 12 years old and has few teeth left and the ones he does have are rotten.

"He's a lovely dog and although he barks he hasn't bitten anyone."

He called police to find out who the fingertip belonged to and they traced the owner two days later.

Suddenly and without warning I heard a dog growl and quickly removed my hand
Brian Hunter

However, he eventually disposed of the digit as it still remained in his freezer unclaimed months later.

Mr Hunter had been delivering leaflets for the Labour Party during a Newcastle City Council by-election in Lemington in November 2006.

Last year, he instructed solicitors to pursue a claim for 15,000 compensation and the case is to be heard at Newcastle County Court on October 30.

Permanent scarring

A statement from Mr Hunter, contained within legal documents, said: "I walked up the pathway and using my right hand, inserted a leaflet through the letterbox of the door premises.

"Suddenly and without warning I heard a dog growl and quickly removed my hand.

"As I did so, I noticed blood and observed my little finger had been severed from the nail to the tip.

"Self evidently as I had inserted my hand in the letterbox, the dog had bitten it."

The former Labour councillor underwent surgery and was on painkillers for two months.

He still has difficulty carrying objects with his right hand and has permanent scarring on all fingers.

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