Daniel Hennessy (pictured outside Bolton Crown Court) ignored pleas to put his five bulldogs on leads and let them loose as up to 70 children attended a fun run
A dog owner who allowed five untethered hounds to run wild around a park has walked free from court.
Daniel Hennessy, 39, ignored pleas to put his five bulldogs on leads and let them loose as up to 70 children attended a fun run.
One Shitzu dog was attacked by Hennessy’s Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog as the tiny animal was taken for a walk through Queens Park in Bolton, Greater Manchester.
A fun run official was then bitten twice as he bravely intervened to stop the tiny dog being mauled to death.
The terrifying incident on April 2 caused parents and children to take cover inside an enclosed play area whilst others took refuge in a cafe.
Hennessy was seen to get aggressive and remonstrate with locals as they begged him to bring his dogs to heel and he was said to have shown a ‘lack of urgency.’
Two of the hounds were eventually shot dead when police marksmen attended the scene.
Inquiries revealed Hennessy had previously agreed to surrender two dogs to police in 2016 and also had a previous conviction for having an Alsatian dog dangerously out of control in 1999.
In 2015 he had been involved a fracas whilst another of his dogs was with him.
Terrifying footage shows the moment an unleashed dog apparently bites a woman’s backside (pictured) as the pack rampage through Queen’s Park in Bolton
At Bolton Crown Court, Hennessy admitted having a dangerous dog out of control and was jailed for 11 months – but he was freed due to time he had already spent in custody awaiting trial. He was also disqualified from having dogs for seven years. A charge of affray was dropped.
Hennessy claimed the police response to the incident was ‘disproportionate..’
But Judge Richard Gioserano told him: ‘All of the dogs were build and powerful and the potential for them to cause serious injury is obvious.
‘You should have intervened more effectively but you did not. There is footage of the incident of you being agitated and confrontational and it shows you being aggressive and confrontational and that was making your dogs more agitated and aggressive.
‘You were told to put the dogs on leads but you do not do so and the potential for somebody to have been seriously hurt is perfectly clear.
Shooting: A lifeless dog – believed to be ‘Kayos’ or ‘Taser’ – can be seen lying in the street after gunfire was heard at the scene on Sunday
In the dock: This is Daniel Hennessy, the owner of the dogs shot dead after the incident in Bolton, and he appeared in court today accused of failing to control his five pets
‘No one was seriously hurt but that was simply down to good fortune. A number of people and children were alarmed and distressed by what they saw.
‘This offence was one dog out of control and a pack of dogs essentially running wild over the park and you accept that your aggressive and confrontational behaviour compounded that. You are not a fit person to have a dog and will not be for some time.
‘The situation was worsened and compounded because of your aggressive and confrontational behaviour. That was you fault, you pursued that behaviour while your pack of dogs ran wild and because of the dangerous situation the police were forced to deploy the firearms unit.
‘You created the dangerous situation that made police deem that action was necessary.’
Earlier Vanessa Thompson said: ‘At the time there as a junior park run and there were a lot of families with young children. The park run was over but there had been over 70 children in the park. Janet Smith was walking her Shitzu Dexter in the park spoke to the defendant about his dogs not being on leads but the defendants animals began circling her dog.
Footage shows people picking up chairs to defend themselves against the dogs in a busy Queen’s Park in Bolton
‘She told him to call them back but the dogs didn’t respond and began attacking Dexter. Miss Smith ran into the cafe asking people for help and a number of witnesses told the defendant to put his dogs on a lead.
‘But it seems the defendant took offence at being told what to do and took offence at being remonstrated by other people and his stance was aggressive under the circumstance.
‘People were rushing into the cafe to stay safe and parents and children were staying inside the enclosed play area where the dogs could not get to.
‘David Hitchin who had been helping with the fun run saw one of large dogs had the smaller dogs head in its mouth and he could see blood and he ran to separate them.
‘But as he did so another dog of the defendants began circling him and he told the defendant to get the dogs on a lead.
‘The defendant responded that they were in leads but it is clear that they were not. Two of the dogs approached Mr Hitching and bit him, one dog on one leg and the other taking the other. He had an injury to his thigh and his shin.’
‘Despite this the defendant continued to behaving in and aggressive manner in the area. He was seen to call the dogs but they didn’t appear to respond to him and they were running wild. ‘
The court heard Hennessy got two of the animals on leads by the time police arrived. The court heard he had previous convictions for drugs matters, wounding, public order matters and possessing an offensive weapon.
In a statement he claimed three of his dogs were on leads and two puppies were off leads and he believed they did not behave in a dangerous way. He said the smaller dog attacked his dog and then one of his other dogs jumped in to help.