Owner of attack dog has jail term squashed

A WOMAN who was jailed for 10 weeks after her Japanese Akita dog attacked a neighbour s Shih Tzu has had her sentence quashed. Kayleigh Steadman s pet Vinnie bit the tiny animal and shook it about like a rag doll in Barking Park on January 30 last year.

A WOMAN who was jailed for 10 weeks after her Japanese Akita dog attacked a neighbour's Shih Tzu has had her sentence quashed.

Kayleigh Steadman's pet Vinnie bit the tiny animal and shook it about "like a rag doll" in Barking Park on January 30 last year.

Steadman, 24, of Park Avenue, Barking, had previously been warned by the RSPCA to mend her garden fence through which Vinnie had earlier escaped and attacked a Labrador.

But Judge John Platt, sitting alongside two JPs at Snaresbrook Crown Court last week, allowed Steadman's appeal after her barrister argued the jail term was "manifestly excessive".


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Steadman had, at Barking Court, admitted a charge of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal before she was sent to HMP Holloway.

Judge Platt said: "We are satisfied that the gravitum of this offence is not cruelty to animals but failing to keep an animal under control."

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Steadman was instead ordered to carry out 40 hours of unpaid work and pay �200 costs.

Her 15-year disqualification from owning animals was reduced to two years on the condition she did not own Akitas or any fighting breeds banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act.

Duncan and Jean Murray, the owners of Chubby the Shih Tzu, criticised the judge outside court.

Mr Murray, 51, said: "If another dog or child gets injured, it's down to him."

Of Steadman, he said: "I think she is an irresponsible dog owner and I think she is completely indifferent to the consequences of what an animal can do if it's not properly looked after."

Duncan said Chubby, who last year underwent an operation, continued to bear the scars and added: "He's still nervous of other dogs."

Howard Cohen, defending, described jobless Steadman, who currently claims disability benefit, as an animal lover whose pets are "surrogate children".

He said the jail term was excessive, adding: "This is clearly a case of a financial penalty or medium level community order."

Vinnie will continue to stay in RSPCA kennels until a suitable owner can be found.

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