A GERMAN shepherd dog terrified a family and terrorised a neighbourhood after escaping from its owner's back garden.
Now a court has told the animal's owner not to let it out on its own after being told how a police officer had to use pepper spray to bring it under control.
Lynn Simpson, 51, of Laburnum Road, Blackburn, Lancashire pleaded guilty to having a dog dangerously out of control in a public place under Section 3 of the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act. She was fined £200 and ordered to pay £249 kennel fees and £60 costs.
She said she believed the dog's trial of mayhem began after a neighbour let the animal, called Delta, out of her back garden as a joke at 8.20am one day at the end of March.
Blackburn magistrates heard that a father had to place himself between the snarling dog and his children, aged two and six, who had climbed on to the back of the settee after it entered their home.
The animal also knocked over a postman and pinned him to the ground, whilst a group of workmen locked themselves in their van for fear of being bitten.
The dog then jumped at a dog warden who tried to catch it and tried to bite him before a police officer used pepper spray to subdue it.
Clare Fanning, prosecuting, said a Mr Siddiqe, of Laburnum Road, was talking to workmen who were fixing his driveway at 8.20am.
She said the dog jumped up placing its paws on his shoulders and barking at him but he pushed it away.
"The next thing Mr Siddiqe knew his two children were screaming inside the house," said Miss Fanning. "He ran in to be confronted by the dog facing his children looking like it was about to attack.
"He got himself between the dog and his children and was shouting and waving his arms. The dog didn't flinch but kept staring at the children."
She said eventually the dog turned and walked out of the house still growling.
The court was told that it then confronted the workmen, postman, dog warden and the police officer. The court was not told whether the workman offered any assistance to the stricken postman or whether they were too scared to help him.
Mrs Simpson told the court the six-year-old dog had been left in her back garden with the gate closed. She said anonymous letters had been sent to her and the local council complaining about the dog barking.
"I think one of my neighbours let the dog out for a joke but I don't find it very funny," said Mrs Simpson.