Schoolgirl acted as human shield to protect Jack Russell from Staffie

Brave schoolgirl, 14, used her body as human shield to stop rampaging Staffie mauling her Jack Russell – suffering a fractured wrist – as dog’s owner, 46, is told to pay £300 compensation

  • Elisha Aitken, 14, was walking Jack Russell dog Basil in Tottington, near Bury
  • Staffordshire bull terrier attacked them but she shielded her pet from the hound
  • Elisha suffered a fractured wrist before terrier owner Suzanne Johnson arrived
  • Basil also suffered injuries and underwent £60 worth of surgery at a vets
  • Johnson, 44, admitted being in charge of a dog dangerously out of control and was ordered to pay Elisha compensation 
  • Bull terrier was spared being put to sleep but must now wear a muzzle

A schoolgirl bravely used herself as a human shield to save her Jack Russell from being mauled after they were attacked by a runaway Staffordshire bull terrier.

Elisha Aitken, 14, was left with a fractured wrist and other injuries after she put herself in the way of her pet dog Basil when the rampaging hound set about them at a beauty spot in Tottington, near Bury.

Suzanne Johnson, 46, has admitted her bull terrier – which has escaped being put down – was dangerously out of control and was ordered to pay Elisha compensation.

During the assault, Elisha was pulled to the ground by the snarling bull terrier as she turned her back on it to cradle Basil in her arms.

A schoolgirl bravely used herself as a human shield to save her Jack Russell from being mauled by a runaway Staffordshire bull terrier, owned by brewery agent Suzanne Johnson, 44

She then managed to get her to feet and overpower the hound when it managed to get hold of the smaller dog during the violent struggle. 

Johnson arrived at the scene in Greater Manchester and put the hound on a lead – but she initially gave out an incorrect phone number when asked to provide her details, a court heard.

Elisha who suffered scratch injuries to her arms and legs later had to have x-rays after the attack and was found to have suffered a fractured wrist sustained she was dragged to the ground by the bull terrier. Basil also suffered injuries and underwent £60 worth of surgery at a vets.

In a statement Elisha told police: ‘This incident has left me struggling to sleep and I have been having nightmares. I no longer walk my dog alone and my dad has to come with me, which has taken away my independence.

Elisha Aitken, 14, was left with a fractured wrist and other injuries after she put herself in the way of her pet dog Basil when the rampaging hound (stock photo) set about them at a beauty spot in Tottington, near Bury

‘I have not been back to where the incident happened as I am terrified I might see that dog again. Even when I walk to nearby shops I cross the road if I see a dog I have not come across before.’

At Manchester magistrates court Johnson, a brewery agent, of Tottington, Bury admitted being in charge of a dog dangerously out of control and causing injury and was ordered to pay Elisha £300 compensation.

Her bull terrier, which was not named, was spared being put to sleep but will have to be muzzled and on a lead in public at all times.

Prosecutor Steve Woodman told the hearing: ‘At 2pm on 6 August 2020 the victim decided to take her Jack Russell called Basil out for a walk with a friend down to a stream. They had the dog on a lead at all times.

‘At around 2.20pm a brown Staffordshire bullterrier was walking towards them and was not on a lead. It headed towards them and started barking and jumping at the victim. It scratched her legs and arms several times and she decided to turn her back on the dog while holding on to her dog and shouting for the terrier’s owner to put it on a lead.

‘Her friend took hold of the terrier’s collar but could not keep hold of the dog who continued to jump and bark at the victim. She held her own dog’s face but as she was doing so she was pulled to the floor by the defendant’s dog.

‘When she was on the floor she was clearly in pain and could hear her own dog yelling. She managed to get back to her feet to harness the dog and tried to get her dog Basil out of the defendant’s dog’s grip.

At Manchester magistrates court Johnson, a brewery agent, of Tottington, Bury admitted being in charge of a dog dangerously out of control and causing injury and was ordered to pay Elisha £300 compensation. Her dog escaped being put down

‘The defendant’s dog tried to get at them a second time but by this point the defendant had arrived and managed to put it on a lead. Nearby members of the public came to help and the victim realised she had significant pain in her wrist.

‘She immediately rang her mother who asked for the defendant’s phone number.. A member of the public questioned whether the defendant had handed out the correct number which turned out to be incorrect. She then gave out her correct number.

‘The victim then headed home helped by members of the public who took Basil to the vets. The dog had to have surgery and which cost £60 and police were called. The victim had to have x-rays and was found to have suffered a fractured wrist from falling. Police allowed the dog to remain with the defendant and did not consider destroying it.

In mitigation Johnson’s lawyer Jane Shaw said: ‘This dog has never, ever been dangerous before and has never caused her concern.

‘The defendant saw the incident and tried to help and separate the two dogs, and it is fair to say she did everything in her power to bring the situation under control. She did not give out an incorrect number deliberately as she was shaking, nervous, full of adrenaline and could not remember her own number.

‘She realised she had given out the wrong number and then gave out the correct one. She has since contacted the victim to hope she is OK and to say how sorry she is.’

Johnson was also fined £300 and ordered and was ordered to pay £125 in costs and surcharges. The dog was made subject to a contingent destruction order.

JP Rajvi Patel told Johnson: ‘We are glad you have spoken to this young woman, but you must be very careful as the next time something happens, the dog will be put down.’

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