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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Woman savaged by three 10-stone 'lion hunter' dogs who tore her pet to pieces in horrific woodland attack

-Originally from Turkey, Anatolian Shepherd dogs have the strength to take down wolves, horses, and lions
-Judge: 'These dogs should not be kept in England'
-One of the dogs had attacked a walker before

By Daily Mail Reporter

Horrific: Kate Hancock suffered terrible bites to her head and arms as her nine-year-old dog was savaged to death next to her. She is pictured in hospital after the attack which took place in woods in Weston-super-Mare

A walker needed plastic surgery after she was mauled by three dogs in a horrific attack that left her own pet dead.

Kate Hancock was set upon by the huge Anatolian Shepherd dogs as she walked her German Shepherd cross, Cassie, in woods near her home

The 47-year-old suffered injuries to her head, face, lips, nose and ears as well as her arms as nine-year-old Cassie was savaged to death next to her.

The Anatolian Shepherd dogs were running loose in the woods in Weston-super-Mare, north Somerset, a four-day trial at Bristol Crown Court heard.

The owner of the three dogs, Sarah Avery, was ordered to pay £10,000 costs and carry out 40 hours of unpaid work after being found guilty of being the owner of a dog which caused injury whilst being dangerously out of control.

The trial heard Mrs Hancock was walking Cassie in Wrington Woods on October 21, 2009, when she was approached by the three Anatolian Shepherds, which had been roaming the woods after leaving Avery's home.

The dogs bit her on her arm and knocked her to the ground before biting her head and face.

She desperately tried to stop Cassie being attacked but was eventually forced to leave her pet dead on the ground and run to get help.

Mrs Hancock made her way to a nearby house, where she phoned her husband and was taken to hospital for treatment.

She spent four days in hospital and needed plastic surgery on her face at Frenchay Hospital.

The trial heard Avery and her husband were out of the country at the time of the attack and the dogs were being cared for by a lodger, who was renting an annexe attached to their house.

Lucky escape: After the court case, Mrs Hancock said: 'I'm a fairly fit woman and was with a fairly large dog. If I had a child with me or if I had been frail then the consequences could have been much more serious'

Killed: Miss Hancock with her dog, a German Shepherd-cross, called Cassie, which was mauled to death

During the trial Simon Morgan, prosecuting, said the charge related to the fact that Avery had not fulfilled her responsibility to leave the animals in the care of someone who could adequately supervise them each day.

The court was told that 18 months earlier one of the dogs had escaped and attacked a man called Gareth Edwards, who was walking with his girlfriend in the woods.

The attack had left him needing stitches after the animal bit through his clothing.
Sentencing, Judge Julian Lambert said: 'It seems to me that these dogs are not appropriate to be kept in England.'

The breed, which originated in central Turkey, weigh up to 10st 10lbs and have the strength to take down wolves, horses, and lions.

The court was told that one of Avery's Anatolian Shepherds had since died, one had been sold and the other remained in her ownership.

Judge Lambert ruled that the remaining dog should not be destroyed because it could not be proved that it caused the injuries to Mrs Hancock.

After the sentencing, Mrs Hancock said: 'They are very large, Great Dane-sized dogs and it was mentioned in the trial that they are inappropriate as pets, especially in multiples.

'They are used to guard flocks of sheep in Asia and could bring down a leopard.

'They are incredibly unsuitable dogs to be kept as family pets and people need to be aware of the harm these breeds can present.

Vicious: Mrs Hancock was attacked by three Anatolian Shepherd dogs, similar to this one, which had been left to roam wild in the woods

'I'm a fairly fit woman and was with a fairly large dog. If I had a child with me or if I had been frail then the consequences could have been much more serious.

'I have no animosity towards the Averys but I want to make sure these particular dogs don't attack again.

'In the trial they were described as lovely dogs, which were docile and trustworthy.'
The court heard a civil claim had been settled before the trial.

Sam Jones, defending Avery, said: 'She deeply regrets what happened and she wants to convey her regret to Mrs Hancock, as she did through a letter.

'She wishes to say how sorry she is that this incident occurred.'



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