Dog owner loses his appeal to save 14 of his pets after they attacked him - and another man

Stephen Potts Credit: ITV

Six American bulldogs who were placed on "death row" after savaging a pensioner and his dog are a step closer to being destroyed after their breeder failed in a legal bid to save them.

Stephen Potts's animals attacked retired teacher Lindsay Edwards and his Staffordshire bull terrier Zumo on The Scrambles, near Pittington, County Durham, last October.

Potts had been exercising the bulldogs off their leads in a farmer’s field, with the farmer’s permission, but they attacked Mr Edwards, of Belmont in Durham - and his dogs - on a nearby public walkway.

Mr Edwards suffered bite wounds to his head, legs and arms that took three months to heal and Zumo needed lengthy vet’s treatment.

Potts was himself attacked by two of his other dogs resulting in him losing an arm a month before this incident.

He was jailed for three months and banned for life from keeping dogs at Durham Crown Court in August.

Judge Christopher Prince also ordered that the six dogs be put down.

Potts, previously of Coronation Crescent, Low Pittington, County Durham, subsequently appealed against his lifetime ban and the dogs’ destruction.

However the Court of Appeal has now rejected his case – leaving the bulldogs facing death.

Potts, who turned to keeping dogs for comfort after his son killed himself some years ago, now has 14 days to decide whether to further challenge the decision.

He would have to do so at his own cost, and the court was previously told he was of "limited means".

The cost to the taxpayer of keeping all 14 of Potts’ bulldogs in kennels, after they were impounded by the police, had reached £38,000 by August, the court heard.

Potts, admitted six charges of being in charge of dogs that were dangerously out of control on the second day of his trial on slightly more serious charges at Durham Crown Court in June.

The two dogs that destroyed his arm have already been destroyed.

Potts did not appeal against his jail sentence, which will by now have expired.

Judge Prince said the sentences were intended to act as a deterrent to any other dog owners who fail to keep their dogs under proper control.

Stephen Potts is lead away by Police Credit: ITV