Drunk dad hunted dangerous estate dog with air gun, court told

A drunken dad who armed himself with an air pistol to hunt down a vicious dog biting people on his estate has avoided custody.

By Nick Frame
Thursday, 16th June 2022, 1:57 pm

Paul Jones was left "niggled" after his seven-year-old son had been chased by the Alsatian-type dog, so went out looking for it in South Kirkby in the early hours of May 2, Leeds Crown Court was told.

Police had urged people to be cautious last month after the dog attacked several people, including children, on the estate.

Prosecutor Anthony Moore said the 52-year-old was seen by witnesses on West Street in South Kirkby holding a gun and attending an address at around 12.30am.

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The dog had attacked people in South Kirkby.

The police were called and they found Jones at his Dunsley Terrace home at 3.20am.

After searching the property, they found several air weapons, a knuckle duster, combat knife and a cannabis grow in his loft. The electricity had also been bypassed.

His partner later told police that Jones had been drinking, had gone to bed before leaving the house saying he was "going to find that dog".

During his police interview, Jones admitted he had the air weapon on him when he went to the address, and said if the dog was there he was going to kill it.

He said the dog was not there, so returned home.

He told officers he grew cannabis for his own personal use, because it helped alleviate the arthritis he has in his hands and shoulders.

A probation report said the father-of-six had been dismayed by what he said was a lack of action by the authorities to catch the dog, which had previously injured a boy so badly that he required plastic surgery on his upper body. Another male was also hospitalised.

Click here to read more on the dog attacks.

Jones admitted charges of possessing a weapon in public, possessing weapon in a private place, producing cannabis and extracting electricity.

Mitigating, Edison Flint told the court: "These are quite unique circumstances, the dog had attacked and caused serious injury to quite a few people and he was extremely concerned.

"The dog had chased his seven-year-old son earlier that day and was concerned for his safety. It niggled him.

"He dealt with it in an entirely wrong way, but he was overawed with emotion.

"He knows what he has done is stupid."

Mr Flint said Jones had been a hunter and fisherman all of his life and often helped farmers on private land using the air weapons for pest control.

He said the knuckle duster had been given to him as a joke present and had no idea it was illegal.

He had also got a friend to bypass the electricity, which helps to avoid detection by the authorities for the large quantity of energy needed to grow the drug.

The court was told that Jones has 13 previous convictions, including carrying an air weapon in public in 1987, and had served short custodial sentences for unrelated matters in 1996.

But the judge, Recorder Ian Mullarkey, said he would suspend his sentence for his latest offences.

He gave him six months' jail, suspended for 18 months. He also handed him 100 hours of unpaid work.