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Gospel Oak teenager sentenced after vicious attack on guide dog

PUBLISHED: 14:16 24 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:47 07 September 2010

Neela, who was left with terrible injuries

Neela, who was left with terrible injuries

A TEENAGER from Gospel Oak has been banned from keeping dogs for ten years after his pet savagely attacked a guide dog at Cricklewood Station. Neela, a guide dog for her 57-year-old blind owner was set upon by John-Jo Madde

Ben McPartland

A TEENAGER from Gospel Oak has been banned from keeping dogs for ten years after his pet savagely attacked a guide dog at Cricklewood Station.

Neela, a guide dog for her 57-year-old blind owner was set upon by John-Jo Madden's animal on the afternoon of October 4 last year.

The three minute attack left Neela with severe puncture wounds to her neck, which required emergency veterinary treatment.

Madden was tracked down after a hunt by British Transport Police and was sentenced at Hendon Magistrates Court on Tuesday, February 23.

Neela's owner, who wants to remain anonymous, told the court of the impact of the attack on her life.

In her victim impact statement she said: "To be unable to see the assault was horrific and terrifying. What was to become of Neela, my faithful sighted guide and what of myself and my independence? In seconds both were being snapped away from me.

"She was being attacked and suffering tremendous pain and not knowing why. I felt tremendous guilt that Neela would associate the onslaught with me. It was a period of total isolation and fear."

In addition to the ban on keeping dogs, Madden was handed a three-month jail term, suspended for two years, and ordered to do 150 hours of unpaid work.

He was also ordered to pay £1200 in compensation to the Guide Dogs Association and a further £500 to the owner of the guide dog.

The terrier-type dog involved has not been located after it was passed on by Mr Madden to a third-party after the attack. A destruction order for the animal was issued by Magistrates at the hearing yesterday afternoon.

Det Con Gerry Griffin, from British Transport Police said: "This was a very sad case that shocked dog lovers across the country. The incident clearly illustrates the importance of making sure that dogs are under the control of their owners at all times - particularly in public places like railway stations."

Chris Dyson, spokesman for Guide Dogs for the Blind Association appealed for other dog owners to learn from the horrific attack.

He said: "We appeal on to all pet dog owners: if you think there is any chance that your dog will be aggressive towards other dogs, or humans, please keep it on a lead, and muzzled if necessary.

Ben.mcpartland@hamhigh.co.uk

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