Man who let dogs attack girl, 10, wins appeal to shorten prison spell
A DOG owner jailed after his German shepherds attacked three people has had his sentence reduced by a third.
Nigel Palmer, 57, of Burke Street, Scunthorpe, was sentenced to six months in prison by North Lincolnshire magistrates in February.
He was also banned from owning dogs for ten years.
Palmer was found guilty of three separate counts of allowing a dog to be dangerous and out of control in a public place following a trial in January.
In three separate attacks between April 7 and May 5 last year, his dogs bit three people – one of them a 10-year-old girl.
Although he has now accepted responsibility for the attacks, Palmer lodged an appeal against the length of the sentence.
He was granted bail after serving just six days of his sentence, pending the appeal.
But at Grimsby Crown Court, Recorder Timothy Gittins and two magistrates rejected a request from his solicitor to suspend the sentence, but did reduce it to four months.
Stephen Robinson, prosecuting, told the court that a 10-year-old girl was bitten on the thigh by one of Palmer's dogs while walking with her parents and their pet Labrador in Atkinson's Warren on April 7 last year.
The family had been approached by five "Alsatian-type" dogs, causing their Labrador to run off.
Palmer shouted at the dogs to come to him, but was not carrying any leads with him, the court heard.
The attack left the young girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, with three puncture wounds and a scar.
Five days later, two of Palmer's dogs attacked a woman while she was in Atkinson's Warren with her 11-year-old daughter.
The two dogs both bit her once on the leg, leaving her with puncture wounds, a huge bruise and an infection.
Then, on May 5, salesman Eric Harpham, 64, was attacked by one of Palmer's dogs on a footpath next to Sherbanell Kennels in Gunness.
When interviewed by police on May 28, Palmer admitted one of his dogs, Buster, had bitten Mr Harpham, but claimed the footpath was private land. He was later picked out in an identity parade.
Richard Lunn, representing Palmer, said his client now accepted culpability for all three offences.
He had owned German Shepherds for more than 40 years, but now accepted he was unable to control them.
His 12 dogs were being kept by relatives and there had been no incidents since.
The court heard Palmer had two previous convictions for failing to control his dogs following two incidents in December 2006, when pedestrians were injured.
Mr Lunn said: "He is a man of 57 who has never experienced a custodial environment. He has heard the clang of the prison gates and it continues to ring in his ears."
An order made by magistrates for Buster, the dog identified as biting Mr Harpham, was removed by Recorder Gittins and the magistrates, who concluded that the owner rather than the dog was to blame for the attack.
Palmer did not challenge the order banning him from owning dogs for ten years.