Owner of holiday lodge park near Ilkley narrowly avoided a severed artery when she was savaged by guest's Cane Corso dog during a game of badminton

The owner of a large Cane Corso Italiano dog has been given a suspended prison sentence after her 'normally docile' pet jumped up and bit a holiday park owner on her neck in an unprovoked attack.

The entrance to Faweather Grange
The entrance to Faweather Grange

The terrifying incident took place in July 2019 at the Faweather Grange lodges in High Eldwick, between Bingley and Ilkley, and left the site's owner Catherine Skinn needing emergency hospital treatment for multiple puncture wounds to her neck.

Bradford Crown Court heard yesterday that the single bite from the dog, called Luna, had partially severed muscles and Judge Jonathan Rose told its owner Melissa Clews:”This was a matter of two centimetres away from severing the carotid artery which could easily have led to death.”

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Clews, who was pregnant at the time, and other family members from Staffordshire had been staying in lodges on the site and while some were playing badminton on a grassed area Mrs Skinn approached them in a normal manner.

Before she had chance to speak the dog jumped up, put its paws on her chest and then bit her on the neck.

After the attack Mrs Skinn was driven to the Airedale General Hospital, but was then transferred to the Bradford Royal Infirmary for treatment.

In victim impact statements she described how she was now very frightened of certain dogs and had suffered scarring to her neck.

The court heard that Mrs Skinn had also been affected psychologically because of how close she came to death.

Clews, 33, of Hednesford Close, Norton Canes, Staffordshire, pleaded guilty earlier this year to an offence of being in charge of a dog which caused injury while dangerously off of control in a public place.

The court heard that since the attack the dog had been the subject of assessment and training and it was now kept on a choke chain and wears a muzzle.

Judge Rose said the gravity of the offence had to be marked with a prison sentence of 20 weeks, but he suspended the jail term for two years.

As a punishment he told Clews that she would be subject to an electronically-monitored home curfew between 8pm and 5.30am for the next six months.

He also ordered Clews to pay £1500 prosecution costs, but he declined to make any compensation order because he was told that civil proceedings involving insurance companies were already under way.

Judge Rose also decided that it was not necessary to order the destruction of Luna after being told about the steps taken to prevent any further attacks.

But he emphasised to Clews that the dog could never be out in public without a lead and a muzzle.

“In a split second, for reasons that I’m afraid only the dog will have understood at the time, she did undoubtably attack Mrs Skinn,” said Judge Rose.

“She is a large dog with a powerful bite. Her teeth undoubtably were responsible for the injury.

“She sank her teeth into her throat. This could have been a very, very serious physical injury or possibly fatal injury.”

Judge Rose said he was satisfied that Luna had given no indication to Clews that she had tendency to bite or to cause alarm to others.