The owner of a dog which scarred two children for life in an "horrific" attack has been given a suspended prison sentence.

The Japanese Akita used a garden table to spring over a six-foot fence into the street, where it carried out a sustained attack on the youngsters.

District Judge Richard Clews, sentencing the dog's owner Amanda Foulds, said it was clear the dog was large and powerful and capable of inflicting serious injury.

He added: "In terms of harm, this case is about as serious as these cases come, falling short of a fatality."

Foulds, 48, of Westfield Terrace, Undercliffe, Bradford, pleaded guilty at Bradford and Keighley Magistrates Court to being the owner of a dog which was dangerously out of control in nearby Pollard Lane, on September 19 last year, and while out of control injured Raees Khan and Iqra Khan.

The court heard Foulds was not at home at the time and the dog was being looked after by the defendant's elderly mother.

District Judge Clews told Foulds: "There was a sustained attack by this dog against two children, and there were serious injuries that can properly be described as horrific. They will undoubtedly scar the children for life, possibly emotionally as well as physically."

He said they were difficult cases for the courts to sentence as they were, rightly, of significant public concern. But usually the offence was not intended or foreseen.

He said Foulds was not present when the incident happened.

But the district judge said it was a case of higher culpability.

He said Foulds knew the dog had got out before and she ought to have realised it might be capable of doing so. "It was incumbent upon you to guard against that possibility and you did not do so.

"Worse, you left a garden table and chairs so close to the garden fence the dog was able to use them as a vaulting horse."

He said Foulds ought to have known her mother was incapable of managing the dog.

District Judge Clews added: "You ought to have had the dog chained up, or properly restrained, and incapable of escaping while you were away."

He said the defendant had said children had been goading the dog, "as if somehow the children brought it on themselves. Nothing is further from the truth and you ought to realise that."

He said it was a category 1 offence, but Foulds had no previous convictions and, apart from this case, she appeared to have been a responsible dog owner for most of her adult life, and had expressed appropriate remorse.

Sentencing her to six months imprisonment suspended for two years, District Judge Clews added: "I am prepared to accept you may not have realised or expected that this dog was capable of such an horrific attack."

Foulds was ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid community work, pay £500 compensation for each child, and £85 prosecution costs. But the district judge said it was not necessary or appropriate to disqualify her from keeping dogs.

But District Judge Clews told her: "I am surprised that you still keep this breed of dog, and intend to do so in the future. It's not something I hold against you. If you feel comfortable with such ownership, that's a matter for you. I dare say many people would not."