Man in court over dog which mauled baby

Lee Wright
Lee Wright
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A man has gone on trial accused of owning a dangerous dog which mauled a beautiful baby girl to death.

Lee Wright, 27, kept the dog named ‘Scoop’, which savaged Ava-Jayne Corless as she slept.

The 11-month-old was found in her cot with “unsurvivable” injuries in February last year after the pet broke free from the kitchen and wandered upstairs.

Blackburn Magistrates Court heard how following extensive examinations by two veterinary experts, they agreed that the dog had

42 out of a possible 66 characteristics of a pit bull terrier type.

Veterinary surgeon Peter Olsen, who has 30 years experience in examining pit bull type dogs, said he was felt “comfortable” labelling Snoop as a dangerous fighting breed.

Giving evidence, Mr Olsen said: “Having examined the dog and looked at the circumstances... I feel now I am in a position to say yes, this dog had a significant number of characteristics and I feel comfortable describing it as a dog of a dangerous type, namely a pit bull terrier.”

Among the features present in the dog which had been frozen and then thawed prior to the examination, were solid looking legs, small feet, a long neck and a wedged head.

Mr Olsen referenced the American Dog Breeders Association to identify the features, which classifies pit bull types as fighting dogs, as the respected Kennel Club does not acknowledge the breed.

It is illegal to own pit bull terriers in the UK, as well as Japanese Tosa and Figa Braziliero animals.

Wright, of Blackburn, denies possession or having custody of a prohibited dog - a charge under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, claiming the dog was an American bulldog.

Chrissie Hunt, prosecuting, told the judge: “In terms of characteristics of the dog involved, you would have to find that there are a substantial number of characteristics which would allow you to reach the conclusion that the dog was a prohibited type or a distinct breed.”

Gareth Price, defending, said: “The inability to identify 24 of the characteristics is not positive for you to be able to identify the breed of dog.”

The trial continues.