A Crufts-winning dog breeder has been jailed for two years and six months for failing to control her pet Belgian Malinois, which mauled a visitor causing her “significant” injuries and distress.
Margaret Peacock, 70, was convicted by a jury at Salisbury Crown Court of being in charge of the dog, called Mako, which was dangerously out of control, causing injury to Natasha Turner, requiring surgery.
Judge Richard Parkes KC also banned Peacock from owning dogs.
He told her: “You have shown no remorse whatsoever for what happened, indeed you continue to protest even today that Miss Turner turned up at your door having already been attacked by some savage stray.
“The only real mitigation in this very serious case is the fact that you are elderly and suffering from multiple sclerosis, a condition which plainly requires long-term treatment.”
The judge also ordered that Peacock’s two collie dogs and another Belgian Malinois – which is in the same herding group as the German shepherd – be seized by police.
Dr Candy d’Sa, animal behaviour consultant, told the court that she inspected Peacock’s home and found it unsuitable for keeping dogs.
She said: “The environment is absolutely unsuitable for animals, especially intelligent and active dogs. It was dangerous, barren and it was filthy.”
Sian Beaven, prosecuting, told the trial that Miss Turner had visited the home of the defendant in Farnborough, Hampshire, to do some DIY, and to visit her own dog, Bobo, which was staying there, when the attack happened.
Giving evidence, Miss Turner said she had visited Peacock, who is registered disabled with multiple sclerosis, on February 1, 2021, to move her bed to another room so it would be nearer to a woodburner because of the cold.
Describing the incident, she said: “It happened really quick, when we realised it was going wrong I was scared because I didn’t think I was going to get the dog off between us.
“It was like someone had got a knife put it in your leg and was tearing it through with a knife, that’s the only way I can describe it.
“I was screaming. I was crying my eyes out. It was really, really bad.”
Miss Turner said that Peacock helped her to get the dog off but was bitten herself in the process, before the defendant managed to put the dog back behind the gate where it was normally kept.
She said that Peacock asked her afterwards not to contact the police because she was worried the dog would be put down, and also bought her gifts in an attempt to stop her from reporting the incident.
The defendant had denied that Mako carried out the attack and told the court that Ms Turner arrived injured at her front door having been attacked by a stray dog elsewhere.
Ms Beaven added that Mako, which had been subject to a dog behaviour contract because of two previous incidents, had since been euthanised because of health problems.
The contract required Mako to be kept under control when visitors were at the property.
In a victim impact statement read to the court, Miss Turner said she underwent surgery for the injury to her foot and she might need further surgery for nerve damage.
She added that the attack had an ongoing psychological impact on her and said: “I am angry all the time, I struggle to sleep because I have nightmares of the attack, I feel nervous and worried.”
The court heard that Peacock was previously given a suspended prison term in 2017 for causing unnecessary suffering to an animal after she killed eight puppies by placing them in a freezer and a ninth by hitting it over the head.
Ms Beaven said that the defendant had been concerned that the puppies might have genetic abnormalities as the parents were brother and sister.