A 28-year-old Perth man is fighting attempts to have his American bulldog destroyed because it bit his Tinder date, leaving her with a “hole” in her face that required 21 stitches and plastic surgery.
- The woman was attacked by the dog after entering Joshua Walker’s house
- The council wants the dog destroyed but the court was told it is missing
- Prosecutors say a message should be sent to the owners of “dangerous dogs”
Joshua Walker today pleaded guilty to be being liable for his eight-year old dog, Texas, attacking the victim in the early hours of Christmas morning last year.
The Perth Magistrates Court was told Walker and the woman had met on Tinder and had gone back to his Morley home after having drinks at a Perth hotel.
When they arrived at his house, Walker asked the woman not to enter until he had secured his dog outside, but when she entered, she saw Texas inside.
The court heard the woman put her hand out for the dog to sniff, but it lunged at her and bit her on the face.
Prosecutor Tim Houweling said the woman had a “chunk” taken out of her face and was left with a “hole” which required 21 stitches and plastic surgery.
He said a recent photo of the woman showed she still had some degree of scarring.
Mr Houweling said Texas was also found to be unregistered, and Walker had not provided the dog’s microchip details to his local council.
He said because of the seriousness of the attack — “that it occurred so unexpectedly, so quickly” — the council was seeking to have the dog destroyed to ensure it was removed from the community.
Dog ‘friendly but territorial’: defence
Walker’s lawyer, Alex Smith, said while his client accepted most of the facts of the case, he disputed that the woman was bitten after reaching out her hand, maintaining instead that she had “lent over” the dog.
Mr Smith said Walker had owned the dog since he was a puppy, and he and others described it as being “friendly and playful … but like many dogs also territorial”.
He told the court the woman had entered the house before Walker had an opportunity to secure Texas.
Mr Smith said his client also denied the woman’s claim, made in a victim impact statement, that the dog had “mauled and chomped” on her cheek, instead maintaining Texas bit her once.
He said Walker had helped the woman immediately after the attack, and subsequently driven her to two hospitals for medical treatment.
Court told dog ‘missing’
Mr Smith told the court Walker opposed the application to have the dog destroyed, although he said Texas was now “missing”, which had been reported to the local ranger.
“If Texas is found he wants to retain ownership,” he said.
Mr Houweling urged magistrate Genevieve Cleary to impose a penalty on Walker that would send a message to the owners of “dangerous dogs”.
He said there had been a significant increase in the number of people having dogs for protection rather than companionship, and the community needed to be protected.
Walker is seeking to have a spent conviction order made, which would mean he would not be left with a criminal record.
The application was not opposed by Mr Houweling.
Walker will return to court next month to be sentenced.