VIDEO: Leek family defend dog Tug after attack
THE owner of a dog who attacked a man and was branded 'dangerous' by a court says the animal actually has 'a lovely nature'.
Dog lover Blaithin Hammersley was told her Staffie-Border Terrier cross, Tug, could be put down after he attacked a man and another pet in two separate incidents in Leek.
Tug was eventually given a stay of execution on the condition he must always be kept on a lead and muzzled.
Instead, North Staffordshire magistrates gave Tug another chance and said he would only be destroyed if any more incidents occur in the next 12 months.
Dyson DC50i - Bagless upright vacuum cleaner - BALL Technology -...View details
Thisi is Dyson's smallest upright vacuum cleaner with the performance of a full size upright machine. The DC50i has Dyson's most advanced cleaner head technology and 2 Tier RadialTM cyclones.
Terms: LIMITED STOCK OFFER. FREE delivery to most UK postcodes - Next working day dispatch.
Contact: 01664 491439
Valid until: Monday, May 27 2013
But today mother-of-two Blaithin begged people not to be scared of Tug, who she says is an adorable and misunderstood animal, who is loved by her children.
The 44-year-old, of The Sleeve, Leek, said: "We are a good family and he is a pet that we have brought up from a puppy.
"It is very unfortunate what happened and we want to put it all behind us now.
"Tug had escaped from the side gate.
"I was busy getting the kids ready for school and had put him out in the garden without realising the gate had been left ajar.
"He got out and went up to a man who was pushing a pram.
"He was just sniffing around but I think the man must have got nervous and started pushing the dog away which annoyed him.
"It all just got out of hand and by the time I went out on the street.
"The man must have panicked and it had caused Tug to lash out and grab hold of his foot. It happened very quickly."
Earlier this week Blaithin suffered the indignity of being hauled before a court, where she was ordered to pay out fines including £140 for Tug's victim to buy new jeans and boots.
But the mum has pleaded for an end to the matter, claiming the family have already suffered enough shame.
She said: "We have apologised to the neighbours and I was so upset.
"We have had Tug since he was a puppy and the kids absolutely adore him.
"It has been a very stressful time going to court and not knowing whether he may have to be put to sleep.
"I just don't know how I would explain that to my youngest son because he adores the dog."
Blaithin said she believes five-year-old Tug, who the family bought as a puppy, has been traumatised after he was once attacked by a smaller dog.
The mother to Llewy, aged 11, and Sean, aged nine, said: "He was attacked by a Westie type dog four years ago and I think it has stayed with him.
"Because Tug is quite big he can seem intimidating to strangers but he actually has a lovely nature.
"I think people get nervous because of his breed and they assume he may attack them."
Llewy added: "Tug is very calm in the house and he is lots of fun to play with.
"Sometimes he can get upset because people are scared of him."