A postman needed 17 stitches after he was mauled by a dog which was supposed to be muzzled and in a cage, Norwich magistrates court heard on Wednesday.

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The postman was attacked by the Staffordshire bull terrier after putting mail through the door of a home on Common Road, Bressingham. The dog sprinted out of a neighbouring house and chased him into his van, clamping its jaws around his right arm as he fled.

He had to slam the van door against the animal to get it to release its grip. With his arm soaked in blood, a neighbour came to his aid and called an ambulance to take the “shocked and frightened” postman to hospital, where he received stitches in his arm and elbow. However, the wound became infected and the nerve and tendons were damaged. The court heard he was still off work.

A previous civil court order made against the dog meant it was supposed to be in a cage, muzzled or on a lead, but it managed to get out of the house as its owners were in their garden.

Donna Hilton, the dog’s owner, admitted a charge of allowing her dog to be dangerously out of control in a public place, causing injury, on July 21. The 29-year-old had her pet put down three days after the attack.

Damien Moore, mitigating for Hilton, said the attack was truly horrific, adding: “She deeply regrets this tragic incident and at the time she was shocked and upset to see what happened to the postman.

“She fully cooperated with the police in their investigation. She has been upfront from the beginning. She has taken all the steps necessary to ensure that this will not happen again.”

The case was adjourned to October 10 for sentencing.

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