Cockermouth man, 81, gets dog ban after cockapoo bites toddler

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image captionDavid Sheppard had previously been ordered by a court to keep his dog muzzled after a girl was bitten

A man whose cockapoo bit a child has been given a suspended prison sentence and banned from keeping dogs for life.

David Sheppard's dog Matt bit a two-year-old boy's hand outside Lidl in Cockermouth, Cumbria, on 13 December.

Matt had been left unmuzzled in contravention of a court order made when the dog bit an eight-year-old girl in 2016, Carlisle Crown Court heard.

Sheppard, 81, admitted being the owner of a dog which caused injury while dangerously out of control.

The court heard he had Matt, a cocker spaniel and poodle crossbreed, put down after the incident.

Sheppard had tied the dog to a lamppost while he did his shopping, the court heard.

The boy's father heard him scream out in pain and saw blood coming from his hand, the court heard.

'Ashamed and sorry'

He hadn't seen the bite but learned from a bystander the dog had jumped up and bitten the boy, who had done "nothing at all", prosecutors said.

The incident came six years after Matt bit an eight-year-old girl outside the town's Sainsbury's.

Sheppard's initial response was to ask the man not to report the incident, the court heard, but he went on to make full admissions to police.

The boy was left with a minor scar and continued to be wary of dogs, the court was told.

Judith McCullough, defending, described Sheppard as an otherwise "public-spirited gentleman" who was "ashamed" by what had happened, adding: "The defendant is sorry for the injury and distress that his dog, Matt, caused."

Recorder Richard Archer suspended a 12-month prison sentence for 18 months, and disqualified Sheppard from having custody of a dog for life.

"It is a sad day when a man born prior to the Second World War appears before the court," Recorder Archer said.

The judge said Sheppard, of St Helen's Street, Cockermouth, acted in flagrant disregard of the previously imposed order, adding: "A child is scarred as a result of your actions."

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