Faversham mum Ann Sage bitten dragging alsatian let loose by ex-police dog handler off daughter
Teen Emma Sage
was attacked by a dog let loose by Stephen Dean
by Ed Targett and Keith Hunt
A Canterbury student feared for her life when she and her
mother were mauled by an alsatian let loose by a former police dog
Emma Sage, 18, told of her ordeal after Stephen Dean was
convicted of having a dog dangerously out of control in a public
The 55-year-old qualified puppy trainer, who "showed no
remorse", put his head in his hands as the jury returned a guilty
He was sentenced to three months' imprisonment, suspended for
Emma - an A-level student at Canterbury College, in New
Dover Road - was horse riding with her mother Ann and a
young girl when they were pounced on by the German Shepherd
Teaching assistant Ann, 47, suffered the most serious injuries
in the "terrifying" attack near Dean's home in Fax Farm, Dunkirk,
on August 16 last year as she tried to drag the dog off her teenage
Emma and a friend's 12-year-old daughter
were walking their horses along a bridle path through a field when
they saw a stallion.
They quickly headed for a gate leading on to Dean’s land through
which the path runs.
Emma, who lives in Selling, went through first.
She said: "There were two alsatians jumping up and barking so we
were stuck between a bit of a rock and a hard place - but if there
is a stallion, the horses can get quite out of control.
"As soon as I went through one of the dogs knocked me to the
ground – I don't even remember how, it was so fast - and then it
started biting and savaging the side of my head.
"Amazingly, its teeth mostly went into my hard riding hat; it
was ripped and covered with puncture marks. I was screaming and it
just kept attacking me."
Ann says her protective instincts kicked in as the dog ripped at
her daughter's head.
She said: "I thought it was going to kill her - she was being
"I got the dog by the side of the head and rammed its head into
the ground. It bit my knee, my thigh - it was really going for
"But I was just like a mother tiger. I was so angry and all my
protective instincts came out.
"It was like a rabid dog. It just would not stop. I grabbed it
and managed to pin it to the ground.
"All this time he [Dean] didn't do anything – he was just
Stephen Dean was
sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court
Dean worked for the Metropolitan Police as a dog handler and an
instructor for more than 30 years, retiring in 2005 to set up his
own bailiffs' firm.
He was ordered to pay court costs of £1,500, compensation to Ann
Sage of £500 and to do 120 hours' community service.
Passing sentence at Maidstone Crown Court, Judge Charles Byers
told him: "People look to experts to make sure they set a good
example as to handling those dogs.
"On this occasion you failed. You have shown no remorse."
Speaking after the trial, Ann said: “I simply can't understand
how he pleaded not guilty all the way through.
"It has taken 18 months to get it through the courts."
'Not my dog - and not in a
Stephen Dean maintained his innocence after his sentence - and
said the attack had occured because of an "unfortunate set of
He claimed it was not his dog that had attacked the group and
the incident took place in his garden – not in a public place.
Mr Dean says the conviction has badly affected him and put a
blot on his previous work with the police.
He said: "I had 32 years in the police and I'm now a criminal
because of something the judge described as a mistake.
"I let the dogs out of their kennels to clean them out and this
incident occurred because of an unfortunate set of
"If the stallion hadn't been in the adjoining field and the
dogs hadn't been out of their kennels this wouldn't have
"I would like to stress the whole thing was bad timing. I'm not
a bad guy."
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