Woman failed to keep ‘out of control’ American XL Bully on lead before death of other dog

A woman failed to keep her American XL Bully on a lead in an incident which ended with the death of a Jack Russell in July 2021.

Armani Costello, 20, from St Helens, pleaded guilty to being in charge of a dog dangerously out of control following an attack on two Jack Russells on July 27, 2021.

She was sentenced at Liverpool & Knowsley Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday (November 2), as reported by Liverpool Echo.

On July 27, 2021, Costello took two of her dogs out for a walk and did not keep them on their leads.

At around 9.40pm, Costello’s two dogs approached Phillip Webster’s two Jack Russells before her American XL Bully – named Chopper – snarled and bared his teeth.

One of the dogs was reported to have ‘made a beeline’ at Freddie – an eight-month-old short-haired Jack Russell – before he was “pinned against the gates” of his family home by another dog. Mr Webster tried to free Freddie, whilst 18-month-old Bertie ran for cover under his car.

He drove to the vets with a neighbour, but Freddie died during the car journey after suffering multiple puncture wounds.

The court heard that Chopper was not responsible for any of the violent actions. However, both of Costello’s dogs were off their leads during the incident.

Costello, who had previous convictions but not of this nature, pleaded guilty at the first opportunity in October, according to the defendant’s solicitor, Carole Clarke. She conceded “this was a distressing incident” and that Costello had learned her lessons from the horrifying event.

Deputy District Judge Laura Nash told Costello that the events had “probably been a massive shock to you” and added that this was a “significant way to learn a serious lesson”.

Judge Nash fined Costello £70 for the incident but the figure will increase to £190 with costs. The judge also ruled that Chopper must be kept on a lead at all times when in public and cannot be walked by someone under the age of 18.

The defendant’s father Gary Costello, who owns Chopper, also attended the sentencing. The judge spoke to Mr Costello about Chopper and the consequences of the incident, to which, he replied: “He’s a good dog you know”.