Four bulldogs have been been given a reprieve but another must die after two separate attacks on women, a court has ruled.
Their owner, nursery nurse Donna Whitelam, aged 41, had received a curfew and been ordered to do 150 hours’ unpaid work and pay £500 compensation to both victims by magistrates last month.
But aided by internet donations from well-wishers of more than £700, raised in a day, she appealed against the death sentence on all five of her British bulldogs.
At Caernarfon Crown Court, Judge David Hale, sitting with magistrates, said three-year-old Nellie had been out of control on two occasions within weeks last August and September.
Destruction of Nellie – branded a “danger to public safety” by magistrates previously – would go ahead, he said.
But Judge Hale said: “In relation to the other four dogs, we are not convinced it’s necessary to destroy them without at least making a suspension of that order.”
Whitelam, of Isfryn Road, Meliden had admitted having dogs dangerously out of control and was ordered to keep them on a lead outside the house. The dogs can go in her rear garden without a lead if fencing is secure.
The court also “just” allowed an appeal against a two-year ban on her controlling dogs.
Outside court, she said she was relieved about the decision although sad about Nellie. “She’s such a lovely dog. I am sorry it happened and apologise to both parties involved,” she added.
Ffion Tomos, prosecuting, said the first victim was an Avon lady visiting Whitelam’s bungalow. The dogs escaped through the front door.
“Nellie jumped at her, scratched her right leg and bit the back of her knee. The dogs continued to surround the victim,” the barrister said.
Louise Houghton had deep puncture wounds and required stitches. However, the attack wasn’t reported to police until after the second incident involving Whitelam’s next-door neighbour.
Miss Tomos said Lisa Quinton had called at Whitelam’s home and Whitelam was unable to hold the dogs back with her leg. Two of the dogs, unidentified, bit the neighbour’s buttock and thigh. Stitches were needed again and the victim feared further attacks.
Whitelam agreed she took no safety measures after the first attack because she thought it would never happen again.
Whitelam told the court she and her husband had owned dogs for 16 years. Angel, Reggie, Candy and Honey were the other four show-dogs.
“The dogs get over-excited when the door is knocked,” she told the court, adding that she had since taken steps including putting a bell on a gatepost and a warning sign, and installed a gate at the front door.