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Bernese owner in health scare

A BERNESE owner suffered a heart attack shortly after watching her dog being savaged by three dogs, a court was told.

Not only did Mary Nelson suffer a heart attack but she was also bitten by one of the three golden retrievers, leaving puncture marks and a bruise to her thigh and a cut lip.

Elizabeth Margaret Wainwright, 56, owner of the three dogs, Charlie, Louis, and 11-month-old puppy Jamie, who had denied three charges of having a dog dangerously out of control and causing injury on Brading Down on March 1, was told if it happened again, they would be destroyed.

The dogs had been off the lead and Wainwright, of Alverstone Garden Village, was out of sight when they attacked Mrs Nelson’s dog, Chase, as she tried to protect him by pushing him under the picnic table.

Mrs Nelson told Island magistrates on Monday that the two older retrievers had charged at her and her dog, followed later by the puppy. “By the time I got him under the table the two dogs were upon us and they literally went through me, biting at me to get my dog,” said Mrs Nelson, who was shouting for help. “By the time the owner got there and helped me get them off, I was feeling quite ill,” said Mrs Nelson, who was having pains in her chest and difficulty breathing. She was told later by doctors the traumatic heart attack was so serious she could have died.
In a statement to police she said: “I stood and watched these three dogs rip my dog to pieces and the last time I saw such an incident, it was wild animals in Africa.” Witness Thomas Davis said he had seen Mrs Nelson completely surrounded by three dogs.

Wainwright said all her dogs had been trained in obedience and done the Good Citizens Awards system, the two older ones winning silver awards and the younger a bronze at just seven months.

She said the reason one of her dogs, Jamie, was jumping up at Mrs Nelson was because of her high-pitched screaming and her other dog had hold of Chase just under his ear but she estimated the incident lasted only 20 to 30 seconds.

Magistrates found her guilty of all three charges of having a dog dangerously out of control and also found that the injury done by all three dogs was the heart attack and a bite to the thigh and lip.

As well as making a contingency destruction order if the dogs were not under proper control at all times, Wainwright was ordered to keep them muzzled and on a lead in public places. She was also ordered to pay £800 compensation to Mrs Nelson and costs of £300.