Death penalty threat on dog after Pc attack in West Ham

A pit bull terrier called Bronson is facing the death penalty for gnawing on a police officer’s leg.

Pc Darren Cookson, 27, was left in agony after the dog sank his teeth into his calf in West Ham.

He needed stitches and bears the scar from a 6cm rip and teeth marks inflicted nearly two years ago, Inner London Crown Court heard.

The dog’s owner Paul Higgins, 24, denied, but was convicted, of having a dog which caused injury, while dangerously out of control.

As Judge Simon Davis ordered the destruction of the animal, �Higgins protested: “That dog’s like my kid.”

The judge made the order, �despite seeing a footage of the pet, named after tough-guy film actor Charles Bronson, playing happily with another dog without being aggressive.

Tristan Chaize, prosecuting, said Dr Roger Mugford, the animal behaviourist who made the film, had been discredited in a journalistic sting in 2007.

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“He was taped in relation to a different dog and different case, agreeing to lie to the court in his report, in order to benefit the dog.”

Mr Chaize told the court police were called to Solent Rise, West Ham, on July 2, 2009.

Higgins, who was agitated warned: “The dog will have you.”

The officers let Higgins put the dog in his car, but he roared off.

Police chased him. He was eventually stopped by back-up police in Seaton Close and abandoned the car on the pavement.

Pc Cookson and Pc Timothy Tutt shouted: “Stop, police,” but Bronson jumped up and tried to bite the second constable.

The dog ran around to Pc Cookson and bit him.

The officer said: “I felt the most excruciating pain in my leg and realised I had been bitten.”

Officers drove their bleeding colleague to hospital.

Bronson has been in kennels ever since.

Higgins, of Porters Avenue, Dagenham, has 28 days to appeal against the dog’s destruction.

Higgins was allowed bail ahead of sentence on Friday.