Man Sentenced Over Dog Attack

The owner of two out-of-control dogs which savaged 10 people in a "horrific and nightmarish'' street attack has been jailed for 12 months.

Unemployed father-of-one Spencer Brown, 22, pleaded guilty to 10 counts of owning dogs which were dangerously out of control in a public place.

The attacks happened after Brown's Staffordshire bull terrier crosses Tilly and Freak escaped from his home in Marline Road, St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex, on July 22.

Passers-by suffered bites to their hands, arms and legs as the two dogs marauded around the area with no leads on, while those who came to the victims' aid were also bitten.

Police eventually managed to subdue one of the animals with a fire extinguisher and a dog catcher pole while a passer-by dragged the other one into a cage.

Weeks before the attacks, on May 16, a man suffered multiple cuts, wounds and a broken finger after one of the same dogs attacked him during a confrontation between him and Brown.

The victim, Jason Griggs, has been left scarred and unable to work as a self-employed electrician following the attack, which also left him needing physiotherapy.

Brown, who has eight previous convictions for offences including theft and shoplifting, admitted owning a dog which caused injury in a private place in relation to the attack on Mr Griggs and also possession of cannabis.

Neither dog was banned but police recommended they both be destroyed following reports from the kennels where they are being held that they remain aggressive.

Jailing Brown at Lewes Crown Court today, Judge Anthony Scott-Gall said they were "grave and quite horrific'' offences which had left victims "savagely mauled''.

The sentencing comes days after new guidelines were brought in for judges dealing with people convicted of being owners of dangerously out of control dogs which harm others in public.

The new guidelines mean tougher sentences which could see more offenders jailed or given community orders and fewer discharged.

Under the guidelines, owners, or anyone in charge of a dangerously out of control dog, would face up to 18 months in jail, with the sentence rising to the legal maximum of two years in exceptional cases.

Detective Constable Rob Tillyer said: "This was an horrific incident culminating in some life-changing injuries to a number of victims, who were going about their normal daily business.

"The sentence passed on Spencer Brown cannot compensate for the victims' pain and suffering.

"The majority of dog owners in Hastings are responsible and take the stewardship of their animals seriously.

"It is hoped that his conviction sends a message to dog owners to be responsible, and to ensure proper control of their animal at all times, whether it is in their personal control or that of another.

"Sussex Police will continue to treat all dog-bite incidents seriously and take positive action wherever necessary.''