Dog owner slammed by sheriff after “appalling” bite attack


A Fife dog owner, whose German Shepherd pet attacked a 77-year-old neighbour, has been sentenced in court.

The woman was attacked, bitten and badly injured by the ferocious dog outside her home.

James Thomson was found guilty of losing control of his pet, Rocco, at a trial last month.

When he returned to Dunfermline Sheriff Court for sentencing, Thomson was slammed for putting the victim through the ordeal of a trial.

Sheriff Craig McSherry said, “It was an appalling attack.”

He recalled that “even when shown photographs he insisted it had only been a scratch and she was making it up”.

The sheriff said it was “disgraceful” that the victim had been forced to go through the stress of giving evidence.

“Whoever advised him to go to trial, if that was the case, should be struck off. This should have been a plea and remorse from the start but there wasn’t any remorse,” he added.

The sheriff imposed a community payback order with 240 hours of unpaid work. He rejected a Crown motion to ban Thomson from owning animals as the court heard he also had a Labrador which had not proved a danger to the public.

At the trial, Thomson admitted he would not take Rocco out into the street or a park in case it attacked somebody. He only walked it around his garden and the communal area around his home.

The German Shepherd had previously bitten a SSPCA inspector and since being taken into kennels it has been highly aggressive and has bitten staff on several occasions.

Thomson, 52, of Bleachfield Court, Dunfermline, had denied that on 29th September at rear gardens at his home, being the owner of a German Shepherd, the dog was dangerously out of control whereby it ran towards the woman, circled around her, barked aggressively and bit her on the body, to her injury.

The victim had to be taken to hospital for treatment for her bite wounds and the court was shown photographs of the puncture marks and bruising.

The woman told the court she was putting rubbish in her bin when the dog attacked her.

She said that after she was bitten, Thomson had come to her door and said, “You’re not going to have my dog put down because of a scratch.”

The witness went on, “The blood was running down my leg. I said, ‘That’s not a scratch’. I took my husband’s arm and shut the door.”

When Thomson gave evidence he accused the victim of making up the story of being bitten, that his dog had only jumped up on her and claimed the injury photos were fakes.

He described Rocco as being “not stranger-friendly” after being trapped in a house fire at their previous home.

After being removed into kennels, there were several bite attacks on staff and the dog has to be moved around using poles.

The owner of the kennels said Rocco had to be “handled like a lion” and recommended that he should never be released back into the public.

A destruction order was granted for Rocco following the trial.

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