A Derbyshire teacher was allowed to keep his dog after a court ruled that the attack on a young boy was not serious enough to warrant an immediate death sentence.

The youngster was bitten by Joanne Barnes’ old English bulldog as he passed him in Eureka Park, Swadlincote.


Pets that attack people are often slaughtered to protect the public.

However, the courts decided to give the teacher’s dog a second chance.

The South Derbyshire District Court learned how the child injured his leg after the bite.

He was treated with antibiotics in the hospital.

Courts have decided to impose an “indefinite” contingent destruction order on the dog, called Murphy – which means it would not be punished if specific conditions were met.

These included:

  • Murphy must wear a short leash and must be muzzled at all times in a public place
  • Murphy must also remain muzzled in a private car
  • Murphy must be controlled by an appropriate person 16 years of age or older capable of controlling this dog

Barnes, 42, who works as a math teacher, was fined and ordered to pay compensation to the victim.

Lynn Bickley, a prosecutor, told the court that the incident took place on November 3 at 2:30 p.m.

She said: “The victim was with his father on a bicycle and was walking. The father described seeing people with their children and walking their dogs.

“The father said that his son was 50 meters ahead and that he thought his son had fallen off his bike. He came running back crying saying that a dog had bitten him. A lady had picked up the bike and came back with him. “

“There was a cut on his son’s leg. There was a bite mark. There were also red marks.”

The court learned that the lady with the bicycle owned the dog and immediately apologized, saying “I’m very sorry”.

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Bickley said the boy should be taken to the hospital where he received antibiotics. Barnes apologized for the incident during his interview with the police.

Bickley said: “She told the police that her dog weighed 32 kg, had been sterilized and that the family had had the dog since he was three months old.

“(According to Barnes), it doesn’t work well with a muzzle and the coaches had suggested removing it in small bursts.

“She made a conscious effort to stay away from people in the parks. She had trained the dog and was of good character before.”

Lauren Butts, mitigating, told the court that Barnes was a math teacher at a local high school and was “extremely remorseful.”

She said, “These are horrible things to consider. It is extremely unfortunate.

“The victim’s family was at a distance. The victim cycled. This surprised the dog and the dog reacted.

“My client was very upset. She immediately apologized. She is a math teacher at a local high school, she is a very responsible woman.”

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Barnes, of Greenlands, Midway, pleaded guilty to being the owner / responsible of a dangerously out of control dog causing injury.

The dog must now respect the order of contingent destruction, which will continue indefinitely.

Courts fined Barnes £ 576 and ordered him to pay £ 300 compensation to the victim.

She was then ordered to pay £ 85 in costs and a victim fine surcharge of £ 57, bringing her total to £ 1,018.