THE owner of a large Bullmastiff that killed a woman's beloved dog and injured her during a tussle has been handed a community order.

Anthony Devaney, 52, of Merrivale Road in Bradford, was sentenced to 100 hours of unpaid work at Bradford Crown Court on Wednesday.

The 52-year-old pleaded guilty to being the owner in charge of a dog dangerously out of control causing injury at Bradford and Keighley Magistrates' Court on June 2.

He was sentenced by Judge Colin Burn.

The charge related to an incident on June 17 last year when Devaney's dog, Buster, escaped from his garden and attacked Margaret Simmonite's pet dog, Harry.

The court heard how Mrs Simmonite suffered cuts to her finger trying to restrain Buster and then had the traumatic experience of paying vet bills to have Harry put down, due to his injuries.

It came after Buster had already attacked Harry three years prior to this altercation.

Somebody else had been walking the Bullmastiff when they lost control and he bit Mrs Simmonite's dog.

This information was volunteered by Devaney to the court and Judge Burn gave credit for that.

Devaney's defence lawyer said: "The previous incident is now only known to the court because it was volunteered to the court by Mr Devaney."

He added that there was evidence Devaney had taken action to put control measures in place since then.

The 52-year-old bought the largest muzzle he could find, but it would not fit Buster.

Devaney then decided the best approach would be for him to be the only walker of Buster in the future, make sure there was high fencing and ensure the gate was locked when Buster was let out in the garden.

The defence lawyer explained that on the day of the attack on Harry last summer, the gasman had come round.

Buster was locked inside an upstairs bedroom, as the worker was going in and out of the house and garden.

The court heard that when the gasman departed, he left the garden gate open and in "a momentary lapse", Devaney let Buster out of the bedroom without checking.

The defence lawyer said Devaney accepted he should have checked himself.

He also outlined that nine character references from various people - including employers, family, neighbours and social club members, showed Devaney was heavily involved in the community, people are not scared of him and he is not known as "the man with the big dog".

One of the references from a 67-year-old neighbour said Devaney acts as a handyman for her, doing shopping, gardening and it outlined she can call on him any time, day or night.

The defence lawyer added: "Fortunately, minor injuries were sustained by the complainant.

"There was psychological harm too at the loss of Harry."

Judge Burn said Mrs Simmonite suffered "significant distress" and that it was a traumatic incident for her.

When sentencing he said: “Unfortunately, as we both know, it was simply, simply the failure to check that the gate was at least fastened, locked up, to which led directly, and there’s no other way of putting it, to the death of Mrs Simmonite’s dog, Harry, and inevitably caused some injury to her when she tried to restrain Buster."

He outlined that other than checking on everything all the time, Devaney's only other possible preventative measure was to get rid of Buster, which he did "unfortunately after the damage was done".

He added: "Having owned a dog yourself, you don't need me to tell you this is very upsetting indeed."

Devaney will have 18 months to complete the 100 hours work - extended from 12 months due to delays in getting community work up and running due to the pandemic.

He was also ordered to pay £250 towards Mrs Simmonite, as well as a £95 surcharge.

Judge Burn said: "The cruel irony of cases like this, is Mrs Simmonite will have had to bear the cost of the vet putting down her own dog."

He added: "It's just a horrible event which could have been prevented with a little more assiduousness on your part."