Michelle Hiscoke admitted to two counts of having a dog dangerously out of control at Winchester Crown Court after her Dobermann went on a rampage at Dignity Pet Crematorium in Hampshire
A woman whose out of control dog attacked two people at a pet cemetery as she tried to hold a ceremony for her late guinea pig will not have to put the canine down, a court has ruled.
Michelle Hiscoke’s Dobermann, named Harlow, left onlookers ‘paralysed with fear’ during the two and a half foot tall dog’s rampage. The 57-year-old had slipped and fallen over when Harlow, who she had only owned for two weeks, bit the crematorium owner and a visitor. She was convicted of two counts of having a dog dangerously out of control but has since won her fight to keep Harlow alive after a judge ruled it does not pose enough of a risk to warrant its destruction.
Hiscoke, from Gosport in Hampshire, allowed her new dog out of her car and took its muzzle off because she was worried it was suffering in the heat in September last year. But the dog managed to get free and started to bark at her lying on the ground. Crematorium owner Kevin Spurgeon came to check on her but Harlow – who was suffering from ‘separation and anxiety issues’ – ‘circled’ him and bit his hand. It later also bit crematorium visitor Bethany Lambert on the thigh, leaving the woman with a fear of large dogs.
Ms Hiscoke, who used to work for the Royal Navy, said she was ‘sorry and ashamed’ and admitted the offences at Winchester Crown Court. She was given a six-month community order, a two-month curfew of 9pm to 6am and an order to pay Ms Lambert £200 and Mr Spurgeon £100 in compensation.
Five conditions imposed on Harlow state the dog must be spayed, must wear a ‘basket style muzzle in public’, must be kept on a head collar and double ended lead, not to be walked or in the sole custody of anyone under 18 and must be ‘placed behind a secure barrier when opening the door’ at home.
In court, Ms Hiscoke’s defending barrister Samuel March said she is ‘single’ and a ‘recluse’ and that her animals are her ‘family’. Judge Adam Feest KC added: “The fact is it was 14 months ago and there’s been no repetition or difficulties in the care of Ms Hiscoke. This is not a case that requires a destruction order but requires a contingent destruction order. What that means is there’s a number of conditions placed on her care of Harlow and if they are broken that is very likely to result in a destruction order.”