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Kyle of Lochalsh woman whose dogs attacked three families pushing prams with babies is banned from keeping dogs for five years after appearance at Inverness Sheriff Court

By Ali Morrison

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Sheriff Gary Aitken.
Sheriff Gary Aitken.

As well as being banned from keeping dogs for five years the woman was also ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work.

Catherine Joyce burst into tears when she heard Sheriff Gary Aitken's criticism of her and his decision that an 18-year-old deaf and blind dog still staying with her should be re-homed.

She cried: "Can I not keep that dog? It is the only thing I have left of my mother's."

But her plea fell on deaf ears as he told the 34-year-old: "I am far from pleased by your behaviour.

"If these children had been harmed you would be facing a higher court and going to jail today for years.

"I am not remotely satisfied that you are a suitable person to keep dogs."

Joyce, of Railway Terrace, Kyle of Lochalsh, had admitted three charges under the Dangerous Dogs Act for not keeping them properly under control.

Sentence had been deferred for a background report.

The court had previously heard that a Jack Russell called Lucky first jumped up on a woman as she pushed her baby in a pram along the village's Station Road on January 22 last year.

It bit her on the thigh causing an injury that required antibiotic treatment.

Lucky and another terrier, called Plucky, then became aggressive with another woman pushing a pram on Stony Road on March 2.

Fiscal depute Pauline Gair said the animals were biting at the woman's ankles.

"The dogs also tried to get in the pram and she crossed the road to get away from them," she added.

On March 7 a couple in Railway Terrace pushing a buggy containing twins were targeted.

The woman was bitten on the ankle and scratched.

Joyce swore at one of the casualties who complained.

Solicitor Roger Webb said: "Her life was running out of control at the time. She had a horrendous few months.

"Her mother, who owned the dogs, was terminally ill and moved in with my client.

"She has since died, as has my client's father and brother.

"The dogs were surrendered to the local dog warden and have been placed with Munlochy Animal Aid for re-homing."

Sheriff Aitken told Mr Webb: "She is exceedingly lucky that these dogs didn't get into these prams.

"After the first time, she should have done something about it."

Addressing Joyce he told her: "I appreciate you were facing a number of difficulties in your life but that is no reason to ignore your responsibilities."

Mrs Gair was able to tell the court that the dogs had been rehomed and the new owners had reported that they had no issues with them.

View our fact sheet on court reporting here

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