The owner of a Rottweiler called 'Bronson' who sank his teeth into a man's ankle and left him with a 5cm wound has been handed a £7,000 court bill.

Graham Bishop, 67, was training the two-year-old Rottweiler on a basketball court at Elms Park, Thame, on February 4 when he was approached by a man, who was walking his own dog in the park.

The pair had a ‘short conversation’ before Bronson ran over and grabbed the victim’s ankle. He suffered a 5cm wound to his left ankle together with injuries to his hand.

In his statement, the man said: “I shouted to [Bishop] ‘get the dog off, get the dog off’. He did nothing to help me. He stood there, silently watching.

“The dog was biting my leg for 30 seconds to a minute. It became apparent the man, Mr Bishop, had no intention of helping me.”

Prosecutor Clare Barclay said Bishop took the dog away and told the victim to wait for him to come back. The victim waited for around 15 minutes but said the dog owner did not return.

In a victim impact statement, the man said he felt ‘let down’ by Bishop, who he claimed had not intervened. He had suffered nightmares about being bitten and clawed by animals.

Bishop’s own version of events differed to the prosecution, his solicitor Phil Kouvaritakis said. He claimed he’d tried to strangle the Rottweiler in an attempt to get the dog to release the victim’s ankle.

He took the dog home, as his ‘first priority was to get the dog away’, and by the time he got back to the park the victim had left.

He had owned Rottweilers for 21 years, the court was told. “Dogs have been a hugely important part of his life,” Mr Kouvaritakis said – adding his client had been involved with Crufts. Bronson had never shown any signs of aggression before.

Bishop, of Hampden Avenue, Thame, pleaded guilty to being the owner of a dangerously out-of-control dog that caused serious injury.

The magistrates sentenced him to four months’ imprisonment suspended for a year.

Chairman of the bench Helen Robins said: “We have had to take our time over this sentencing because your defence solicitor presented a different view to the one given by the prosecutor.

“However, you have pleaded guilty to the prosecution’s case.

“We have looked at our sentencing guidelines. Our sentencing guidelines are very [clear] that a person in charge of a dog that is out of control in a public place that has injured a person with such significant injuries, the starting point is custody.

“In this case, we can find no mitigation, but we are suspending a custodial sentence.”

The magistrates ordered him to pay £800 compensation to the victim and £6,768 to Thames Valley Police for kennelling the dog. He must pay £213 in costs and surcharges.

Bronson must wear a muzzle and lead when out of the house and be looked after by someone over the age of 18. If he doesn’t, the dog could be put down by the police.

Keep up to date with all the latest news on our website, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

For news updates straight to your inbox, sign up to our newsletter here.

Have you got a story for us? Contact our newsdesk on or 01865 425 445.