LIVERPOOL ENGLAND - PIT BULL DRAMA: A "RESPONSIBLE" AMERICAN BULLDOG OWNER PASSED OUT DRUNK AND THE DOG CHOMPED DOWN ON A PARAMEDIC'S ARM...AND IT WENT DOWNHILL FROM THERE WITH THE DOG BEING DESTROYED AND THE OWNER BANNED FROM KEEPING DOGS FOR LIFE
A dog ‘trained to be a weapon’ bit a paramedic who was tending to its drunk owner as he lay unconscious in the road.
David Fitzgerald collapsed outside his home in Broad Lane, Norris Green next to his seemingly passive AMERICAN BULLDOG, Hardy.
Paramedic Ian Cowley tried to rouse the 53-year-old when the dog launched forward, bit his left arm and held on with its jaws.
Liverpool Crown Court heard he shook off the animal and fled to his ambulance, where he and a colleague took shelter.
Philip Astbury, prosecuting, said Fitzgerald came around and asked for a lift, which was refused, then head butted the vehicle.
Police were called to the incident, during which Mr Cowley suffered a small puncture wound, at around 9am on Monday, April 4 this year.
Fitzgerald went to a nearby park after telling officers: “Come near me and he will f***ing kill you.”
Hardy, who was let off his lead, tried to attack another dog, before Fitzgerald made his way home.
He branded police “scum” and was only arrested after specialist officers with dog sticks, a fire extinguisher and electric shield entered his front garden.
Fitzgerald later told police: “You won’t allow me to have a knife, you would arrest me for a gun, so I’ve got my Hardy.
“I brought him up to be protective of me. He doesn’t understand a policeman, a paramedic or a hoody.
“He doesn’t realise, but he does realise he’s got to look after me.”
Fitzgerald, who has 16 previous convictions for 23 offences, admitted owning a dog which caused injury while dangerously out of control.
He was serving a 12-month community order for assault causing actual bodily harm and threatening behaviour.
Simon Driver, defending, said his client was unconscious during the attack and afterwards was “still labouring under whatever causes led to that unusual state”.
Mr Driver told the court: “He said he used to have a problem with alcohol but feels this is something, which is no longer a problem for him.”
He said Fitzgerald accepted smoking cannabis for pain relief and received residential treatment for mental health issues, for which he was on medication.
The court had to consider whether the dog should be destroyed or stay with Fitzgerald’s son under a contingent destruction order.
Mr Driver urged the judge to impose a suspended prison sentence and to spare the dog, producing photos of Hardy with Fitzgerald’s three-year-old grandson.
Recorder Graham Wells said: “That was a paramedic. It could quite easily have been a child who had done their Duke of Edinburgh Bronze in first aid, a scout, a guide. The dog would have gone for them.
“That dog was out of control because you were unconscious because of drink and possibly the medication you were on.
“You were in no fit state to have a weapon and this is what you trained the dog to be. No matter who, no matter what, it would attack.”
Recorder Wells banned Fitzgerald from keeping dogs for life and jailed him for 16 months.
The judge said he was not satisfied the dog could be safe and ordered its destruction.
Fitzgerald was escorted out of the dock after shouting: “F*** you! It’s a protective dog, not an attack dog.
“Don’t kill the dog, I don’t care what you do to me.”