A HOBBY breeder banned from owning or looking after dogs after a woman was bitten has seen his appeal against his sentence thrown out.

Damien Firth was tasked with looking after Apollo, an American bulldog, while the dog’s owner was in prison.

But the canine attacked a woman and her small dog who were walking past his Callands home after the 33-year-old left his garden gate unlocked.

Firth, of Granston Close, was sentenced at Warrington Magistrates’ Court on April 6 after pleading guilty to a charge of being in charge of dangerously out of control dog which caused injury.

He also pleading guilty to two counts of failing to prevent unnecessary suffering to an animal.

Here, he was disqualified from being a custodian of dogs for five years, handed a community order and ordered to pay compensation.

Firth appeared before Liverpool Crown Court last week to appeal this decision handed down by chair magistrate Robin Bradshaw.

Warrington Guardian: Firth was originally sentenced at Warrington Magistrates' CourtFirth was originally sentenced at Warrington Magistrates' Court

But recorder Ben Douglas-Jones dismissed his effort to overturn the sentence, stating that it was fair and just.

In April, prosecutor Simon Green explained to Warrington Magistrates’ Court how on July 4, Apollo ran towards the female victim and latched onto her wrist in an attempt to reach the dog in her arms.

She fell to the floor, dropping her dog in the process, which was subsequently attacked and left with puncture wounds. The woman also suffered puncture wounds and bruising to her wrist.

After learning what had happened, Firth ran out, grabbed Apollo and took him back to the house, all without saying a word to the woman.

She went to Warrington Hospital, where she received a tetanus jab and antibiotics, while Apollo was seized by police, who discovered on inspection that he was suffering from an ear infection.

Around three months later on October 21, the RSPCA received an anonymous call that a second dog – Stella, a German shepherd – had been attacked in a garden by two pitbull-type dogs.

After attending Firth’s address, a charity officer found the dog to be bleeding and spoke to defendant, who refused to let her go to the vets.


Following the attendance of police, Stella was taken to the vets and was found to have suffered a number of wounds and lost a lot of blood.

In defence of his client, Gary Schooler referred to a report compiled by a police officer who examined Apollo after he had been seized, describing him as a ‘friendly and happy dog’.

Mr Schooler said that the gate being unlocked was a ‘momentary lapse in concentration’ and that Firth had acted ‘as any responsible dog owner would’ by taking Apollo back inside immediately.

He explained that when Firth returned outside to see if he could offer any assistance to the victim and apologise, she had gone.

Referring to the injuries to Stella, which had been caused by two puppies, Mr Schooler said that Firth used his armed forces medical training to treat the dog, having not appreciated the full extent of her injuries.

Chair magistrate Robin Bradshaw disqualified Firth from being a custodian of dogs for five years and ordered him to complete a community order for 12 months, 10 rehabilitation activity requirement days and 100 hours unpaid work.

He also decided against the destruction of Apollo, instead imposing an order requiring him to wear a muzzle and be on a lead at all times in public places.