A “FRIENDLY and sociable” dog has become “stressed and depressed” after being ordered to be kept muzzled after grabbing another dog in the street.

Owner Michael Knowles, of West Shore Road, Walney, appeared at South Cumbria Magistrates’ Court in Barrow on August 30 after a complaint to police about his dog Dozer.

The complaint was made after Dozer, having escaped from the family’s garden, grabbed another dog on May 15.

Prosecutor Harriet Tighe said: “He ran towards the English springer spaniel named Stitch and jumped up towards him.

“Mr Knowles had to come and hit Dozer on the head to stop him because he had begun to pull on the dog and drag him along the street.

“Before this, a year earlier, Dozer grabbed the same dog on Earnse Beach Bay and left a puncture wound which later became infected and cost the owner £90 in vets bills.

“Throughout both incidents, Dozer had not attacked either owner.”

47-year-old Mr Knowles told magistrates how Dozer, a mastiff was a “big softie” and that he would frequently be taken into a care home for dementia patients.

He said: “He is very well socialised and we have walked him down the beach almost every day of his life without him ever showing any aggression to any other dog. In the house he can sleep in the same bed as a Guinea Pig without any problem.

“He always walked without a lead until the incident on the beach because he has always been quite a submissive dog.

“I have had dogs all of my life and sometimes they can just be dogs. He has not mauled him.

“When we were on the beach the other dog’s owner panicked and that was when Dozer grabbed the dog, and the same thing happened in the street.

“He only got out because my lad had left the back gate open and he wandered out. I heard him shout to the owner that Dozer was a big softie but she picked the dog up and panicked. She started swinging him around and Dozer grabbed the dog.

“Since then we have tried him with a muzzle but he does not like it. He used to come and wag his tail when we went to get his lead out for walks but now he does not want to go. He has developed eczema because of the stress and he is depressed.”

While the order was not contested, Mr Knowles argued against keeping Dozer muzzled in public for the comfort of his dog.

Ms Tighe said: “This order is necessary to prevent any possible future injuries being cause to other animals.

“The first condition of that is for Doer to be muzzled and that is a priority to prevent bites occurring.

“Having Dozer on a short lead would not be sufficient.”

Magistrates issued the order, which states Dozer must be kept muzzled at all times in public, must be microchipped, and must not be walked by anyone under the age of 16. He must also be kept in a locked garden when outside in private property.

No criminal charges were brought against Mr Knowles following the complaint.