TWO dogs attacked a woman and her Yorkshire Terrier after being let off their lead in a supermarket car park.

The Staffy-type dogs, Poppy and Chumba, pounced on three-year-old Tilly and her owner as members of the public tried to help.

Andrew Hodkinson, of Allen Street in the town centre, appeared at Warrington Magistrate's Court on Monday after pleading guilty to four counts of owning a dog which was dangerously out of control.

The court heard how the incident occurred in January as the victim visited Tesco Extra on Winwick Road with her dog Tilly.

Her owner told the court that her dog 'never recovered' from the attack and was put down some months later.

The woman left Tilly, a Yorkshire Terrier, with two members of public while she went to buy some groceries.

In a statement, she recalled how she thanked the persons and took off Tilly's lead to give her a treat.

She said: "The next thing I knew Tilly was flying through the air and two dogs were on her.

"People ran to help Tilly and I could hear the owner of the two dogs shouting 'get off my dogs'.

"There was a lot of blood and at first I thought it was coming from Tilly but I saw a puncture wound in my finger.

"A member of staff took us to the vets who found puncture wounds on Tilly's abdomen.

"After the attack, Tilly would no longer leave the house and if I managed to get her in the garden she would just hide behind the greenhouse.

"The incident still haunts me.

"It has left a hole in my heart and I don't go out as much anymore.

"I feel lonely, I miss her companionship and cuddles and there are no more long walks.

"I don't want anyone else to go through what I have."

Rob Youds, prosecuting, said: "Mr Hodkinson tied two Staffy dogs to a post near the door of Tesco Extra.

"When he returned and untied them, they both make off at speed towards the Yorkshire Terrier and the complainant.

"Tilly was put down in March which her owner found devastating.

"The crime has left her feeling empty."

51-year-old Hodkinson has 33 previous convictions for 51 offences including an incident from June this year when he assaulted an emergency worker.

Gary Heaven, defending, said: "I have actually known these two dogs since they were pups as I have represented Mr Hodkinson for many years.

"The dogs are mum and daughter and he used to bring the older one to my office and more recently her pup.

"They were nothing but placid and I was never concerned that they would present a threat to anyone.

"When Mr Hodkinson had been arrested before in the town centre, CCTV shows the dogs walking around calmly while his arrest is causing a scene."

Hodkinson was ordered to pay compensation to the victim for her injuries and vet bills and will be monitored by a curfew for six months.

No order was made to destroy Poppy and Chumba but restrictions have been placed on the dogs which mean no person under the age of 18 can be in charge of the pair and they must wear muzzles when out.