A POSTMAN who says he was attacked and bitten by a dog owned by a leading North East judge has spoken of his anger and disbelief after learning she will not be prosecuted over the incident.
Kenneth Auld, 54, says he is ‘amazed and flabbergasted’ that the Crown Prosecution Service has decided to take no further action against Judge Beatrice over the incident at her home near Rothbury, Northumberland three months ago.
Mr Auld was delivering mail to Judge Bolton’s next door neighbour when he claims her German Shepherd dog got out of the house, attacked him and bit him on the leg, causing a wound that required hospital treatment.
He immediately reported the attack to Northumbria Police, which investigated the incident and submitted a file to the CPS.
Now he has been told by the CPS that because the incident happened in a private garden – and not in a public place – Judge Bolton can’t be prosecuted under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.
Yesterday father-of-three Mr Auld, who has been a postman for 11 years and lives with his wife Susan in Castle Close, Morpeth, said: “I’m flabbergasted and find it absolutely amazing.
“I was left bleeding, needed hospital treatment and was off work for a week as a result of this, but it feels like the CPS are saying it never happened.”
Mr Auld was delivering mail to the judge’s home on April 9 but left the parcels on her doorstep because he says her two dogs were barking so much. He went on to the house next door and says he was coming down the steps after delivering mail when the two dogs came out through the judge’s back door and ran at him.
Mr Auld said: “One of them bit me on the leg and Judge Bolton came running out, got control of the other one and they ran back. My leg was pouring with blood so I went to Rothbury police station and reported it. I then went to Rothbury hospital and had the wound cleaned and bandaged by a male nurse.
“When I got the letter from the CPS I couldn’t believe that they are not going to take any action on it. What they are saying is that if a postman is bitten by a dog on anyone’s land, the owner can’t be prosecuted. People shouldn’t get away with things like this.”
The letter to Mr Auld from a CPS lawyer in Preston, Lancashire, which dealt with the Northumbria Police file on the incident, says he has considered offences under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.
Under the Act it is an offence for a dog to be dangerously out of control in a public place, or on land where the dog is not permitted to be.
The letter goes on: “On the evidence available I have come to the view that the area in which this incident occurred was not in a public place. Further, it seems that the dogs were in fact permitted to be on the land where this incident occurred.
“Because of this I am sorry to say there can be no prosecution under the Dangerous Dogs Act. I appreciate you may be disappointed with the decision that has been reached as regards the bite. ”
The Communication Workers’ Union, which represents postmen and women, this week sent a strongly worded letter to Government minister, James Paice, calling for urgent action to tackle the problem of dog attacks.
It followed a Parliamentary debate last week at which the loophole in the Dangerous Dogs Act was raised. There were renewed calls for the legislation to be extended to cover attacks carried out on private property.
CWU national health, safety and environment officer, Dave Joyce, said: “I urge the coalition government to make an early positive announcement regarding new dangerous dogs legislation to protect postmen and women, 6,000 of whom are attacked by dogs every year. Scottish and Irish postal workers are already benefiting from new controls on dangerous dogs, introduced as a result of the union’s campaign.
“We need the Westminster Government to follow this lead by extending the law to include private property and a dog owner’s home. This would close the loophole which gives immunity to irresponsible owners from criminal prosecution when an attack takes place on private land.”
Last night a Royal Mail spokeswoman said: “Although most dog attacks are beyond our control, as a responsible employer we provide detailed and updated advice to all staff on how to reduce the risk of an attack. Royal Mail and the Communication Workers’ Union have pledged to work together to raise awareness of the dangers of aggressive dogs.”