A Staffordshire bull terrier has been handed a death sentence after sinking its teeth into two people and being put into a head-lock by a paper-delivery man.

Ian Gent, of Castle Pill Crescent, Milford Haven, pleaded guilty to owning a dog which was dangerously out of control, when he appeared before Haverfordwest magistrates on Tuesday.

Vaughan Pritchard-Jones, prosecuting, told the court that Ian Sherwood saw Gent’s dog Dexter in his garden while on a paper-round at around 8am on December 3, but was unable to close the gate in time to stop him escaping.

“He was not fast enough and the dog managed to get out and went towards Doreen May’s two dogs. Mrs May tried to protect her dogs and kick the dog away, but fell over.”

The dog then went for her and sank its teeth into her leg before dragging her along the ground.

Mr Sherwood was bitten on his ankle as he went to Mrs May’s assistance.

Mr Pritchard-Jones said: “He managed to get the dog in a head-lock, what a brave thing to do. He held it around the throat to prevent further damage.”

Gent managed to get the dog inside, and told police officers that he was aware Dexter did not like other dogs, but he had never attacked a person before.

The 69 year-old, who represented himself, said: “I would like to apologise for what happened, not just for the injuries, but it must have been a very frightening experience.

“I’m responsible for Dexter and I take that responsibility very seriously.”

Gent added that he had adopted four year-old Dexter from a rescue centre in April, and had increased the fencing on his property before and after the incident. He had also worked with a behaviour specialist.

He told the court that something had happened in August which left Dexter frightened by machinery, startled by sounds and unwilling to leave the garden, but he had never shown any aggression to people who called at the house.

Magistrates fined Gent £300 and ordered him to pay £300 compensation to Mrs May and £100 to Mr Sherwood for their injuries, plus costs and charges of £115.

The chairman of the bench said: “It’s hard to think of anything you could have done to improve the situation. Never-the-less, it was a very unpleasant incident and two people were hurt.”

He added: “Dexter has been quite a difficult dog despite the measures you have taken. It’s fair to say that he is a dangerous dog.”

The bench stated that they had no option other than to make a destruction order for the dog.