'One lapse' warning from owner after dog's life spared

Annette's friend John Prothero with Tulah
Annette's friend John Prothero with Tulah
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A dog owner who was threatened with jail and almost had to have her precious pet put down has issued a warning to other owners about the implications of a ‘lapse of control’.

Annette Collins, 56, wept in court when her seven-year-old German Shepherd Tulah’s life was spared.

The driving instructor, of Norbreck Road pleaded guilty to having a dog dangerously out of control which caused injury. But she produced evidence from neighbours and friends that the incident, in which Tulah was alleged to have bitten a workman was out of character.

Annette called in an animal behaviourist to provide evidence, the expert making clear there was ‘no malice’ in Tulah’s behaviour and that she was ‘not an aggressive dog’.

Annette said: “This really could happen to anybody. A momentary lapse of control, of attention could have massive implications for any dog owner.

“I didn’t let them take Tulah when they came round, if I had that would have been it.

“So many people gave statements about Tulah, about her character, I can’t thank them enough.

“She has to go out muzzled now, she can’t be off the lead in a public place, but she has a secure garden to run in at home and she is still here.

“She is my companion, it would have been unthinkable to see her put down.”

Blackpool magistrates made a contingent destruction order which states Tulah must be muzzled and on a lead at all times in public and when being transferred to and from the car,

Annette Collins was fined £240 with £85 costs and ordered to pay £300 compensation to the workman plus £30 victims’ surcharge.

The court was told Tulah had lept at and bitten a workman in the garden of a neighbouring property, causing puncture wounds to his hand which required stitches.

The dog was a rescue puppy of 14 weeks when Collins got her. She said the dog had never been aggressive or bitten anyone before and the incident was completely out of character.

Lancashire police had no record of the dog being involved in any incident.