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Dog saved by injured girl's plea

Dave and Elayne Skinner
Dave and Elayne Skinner

A pub dog who injured a girl has been saved after the young victim said she didn’t want it put down.

Now the animal’s owners, who have been separated from their pet for nine months since the incident, are awaiting the return of their bull mastiff Ginty and face huge kennel fees on top of a £500 fine.

The seven-year-old girl, who can’t be named, was hurt in a pub in Gillingham earlier this year and was due to tell a courtroom what happened, but was spared the ordeal as Dave Skinner and Elayne Wilson admitted allowing it to be dangerously out of control.

The landlords of the Dog and Bone pub in Jeffery Street, Gillingham, who have owned the dog since it was an 11-week-old puppy, said after the court case they were extremely sorry the girl was injured. They wish her well and are pleased she will probably not be permanently scarred by the injury.

Mr Skinner, 67, and Ms Wilson, 55, say they originally denied the charges as they were told it was the best thing to do as the dog may have been put down otherwise.

However, when they turned up for the trial they changed their plea on the advice of their solicitor.

The advice came as guidelines on dangerous dogs were introduced which would mean Ginty could be returned home under a control order set down by Medway magistrates.

The girl suffered an injury to her upper lip, which needed four stitches on the outside of her mouth and more inside.

Although there is still a faint scar on her face, it is thought this will disappear in time.

Kirsty Randall, prosecuting, said: "She does not want the dog to be destroyed, she does not think it was the dog’s fault, but thinks it was the owners’ fault."

On the night she was injured, the dog had been left in the private quarters of the pub by the couple, but had been let into the bar area by someone else.

The girl, who was with her family, had been playing happily with the dog on the floor before the incident and it is not clear how she received her injury.

It was accepted the injury was caused by a nip, rather than a bite and that Ginty was a placid animal and had never acted in this manner before.

The couple were ordered to pay compensation to police of almost £5,000 to cover the cost of kennel fees. They also have to pay £300 court costs.

Magistrates ordered Ginty, who is four, should be returned home as soon as possible, but ordered she be muzzled in public at all times.

It is understood the girl’s family are taking civil action against the couple to get compensation for her injury.

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