Owner must keep dog muzzled after it bit woman in car park of Norwich supermarket

A Norwich woman has been ordered to pay a �100 fine and to keep a muzzle on her dog in public after it bit a woman in the car park of the Morrisons supermarket in Norwich's Riverside area.

Heather Rothwell, 63, of Kerrison Road in Thorpe Hamlet, appeared at Norwich Magistrates Court this afternoon and pleaded guilty to the charge.

The dog, a lurcher, bit a woman in her 20s on Friday, June 29 this year. Lisa Britton, prosecuting, explained that the incident had unfolded after Rothwell and the victim's cars were parked too closely together in the supermarket's car park.

Ms Britton said: 'As she approached her vehicle she could see that the defendant (Rothwell) had parked very close to her car, leaving the cars about a foot apart.

'She began to squeeze between the two cars and she could see a female sat in the car but did not see a dog in the car's rear.'

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The victim said the dog, with brown scruffy fur, stuck its snout out of the window and bit her but immediately let go and sat back down.

Rothwell started to drive off before the victim's father stood in front of the semi-convertible Citreon to prevent her from leaving the scene.

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Jamieson Plummer, in mitigation, said Rothwell insists she was simply moving to a more appropriate parking space and not attempting to flee the scene.

The victim's father then called the police and ambulance service and his daughter attended a medical walk-in centre to have the bite treated and dressed.

Mr Plummer described the incident as 'quite quirky'. He said: 'My client had parked very closely to the complainant's car so she had to squeeze through the gap to get to her car and in doing that the complainant came very close to the open window.

'The dog, hearing the noise of her coming and, it seems, thinking she was going to get into the car, put its snout out of the car and bit her.'

Mr Plummer described the incident as 'relatively minor' when in contrast to many cases in breach of the Dangerous Dogs Act and said that the dog was being 'territorial'.

He added: 'The dog has never shown any sign of biting anyone before.'

Rothwell was ordered to pay a �100 fine and �100 costs and told the dog must be muzzled when in a public place and when in a vehicle in a public place.

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