A woman who lost control of her Dobermann which mauled two people at a pet crematorium as she was trying to bury her dead guinea pig avoids jail.

Michelle Hiscoke, 57,  was trying to lay her dead guinea pig to rest when she lost control of her dangerous dog which attacked two people at an animal crematorium.

Hiscoke let her new dog Harlow – which she had only owned for two weeks – out of her car and took its muzzle off because she was worried it was suffering in the heat.

But when she fell, the dog managed to get free before starting to bark at her lying on the ground leaving onlookers ‘paralysed with fear’, Winchester Crown Court heard.

Crematorium owner Kevin Spurgeon came to check on her but Harlow – who was suffering from ‘separation and anxiety issues’ – ‘circled’ him and bit his hand. 

Michelle Hiscoke (pictured), 57, was given a six-month community order, a two-month curfew of 9pm to 6am and is to pay the vicims a total of £300 in compensation

Michelle Hiscoke (pictured), 57, was given a six-month community order, a two-month curfew of 9pm to 6am and is to pay the vicims a total of £300 in compensation

While at Dignity Pet Crematorium in Hook in September last year, Hiscoke's dog bit two people

While at Dignity Pet Crematorium in Hook in September last year, Hiscoke’s dog bit two people 

Hiscoke managed to put the Dobermann bitch back in her car and went to apologise, confessing that she was struggling with the two-and-a-half-foot tall dog which had bitten through the fabric cage in the vehicle.

When crematorium visitor Bethany Lambert came to see the dog, Hiscoke opened the car door and Harlow bit Ms Lambert on the thigh. This has entrenched a fear of large dogs in Ms Lambert, the court heard. 

Hiscoke – who was previously in the Royal Navy – pleaded guilty to two charges of having a dog dangerously out of control causing injury in a public place and is said to be ‘deeply sorry’. 

She was given a six-month community order, a two-month curfew of 9pm to 6am and is to pay Ms Lambert £200 and Mr Spurgeon £100 in compensation.

The court was told that on Saturday, September 24 2022, between 2pm and 3pm, Hiscoke, from Gosport, was at Dignity Pet Crematorium in Hook.

The family-owned crematorium, which is a finalist for ‘Pet Crematorium of the Year 2023’, is run by Mr Spurgeon.

Prosecutor Edward Warren said: ‘In the early afternoon, Ms Hiscoke attended the crematorium to cremate the body of another pet. She brought with her a Dobermann bitch who was about two and a half feet in height that she had recently come into possession of.

‘The owner of the crematorium heard the Dobermann barking and came out to see a dog standing over a lady on the ground, and another woman standing there, paralysed with fear.

Hiscoke (pictured) pleaded guilty to two charges of having a dog dangerously out of control causing injury in a public place and is said to be 'deeply sorry'

Hiscoke (pictured) pleaded guilty to two charges of having a dog dangerously out of control causing injury in a public place and is said to be ‘deeply sorry’

Hiscoke lost control of her Dobermann which mauled two people at a pet crematorium as she was trying to bury her dead guinea pig

Hiscoke lost control of her Dobermann which mauled two people at a pet crematorium as she was trying to bury her dead guinea pig

‘The dog broke away from Ms Hiscoke, circled Kevin Spurgeon and bit him. He suffered a bite on his hand, on his little finger.

‘Ms Hiscoke returned to the building to apologise and spoke to Bethany Lambert about how she was struggling with the dog who had bitten through the fabric cage in her car.

‘Ms Lambert said she saw the dog was running around inside the vehicle.

‘Ms Hiscoke opened the door and held the dog by the collar, but it leapt out and bit Ms Lambert on the thigh. Ms Hiscoke said the dog had anxiety and separation issues.

‘The day this happened was a hot day. She allowed the dog outside and took the soft muzzle she had bought off so it could breathe better.

‘She didn’t want the dog to suffer because of the heat as the car was hot.

‘The woman on the ground was Ms Hiscoke. She had slipped and fell, and the dog had got free.

‘Ms Lambert suffered puncture wounds and heavy bruising. She said she was a life-long animal lover, and now she is wary of big dogs and is scared whenever one comes near her.’

Pet crematorium owner Kevin Spurgeon came to check on Hiscoke who had fallen but Harlow - who was suffering from 'separation and anxiety issues' - 'circled' him and bit his hand

Pet crematorium owner Kevin Spurgeon came to check on Hiscoke who had fallen but Harlow – who was suffering from ‘separation and anxiety issues’ – ‘circled’ him and bit his hand

The incident took place at a family-owned crematorium, which is a finalist for 'Pet Crematorium of the Year 2023'

The incident took place at a family-owned crematorium, which is a finalist for ‘Pet Crematorium of the Year 2023’

Samuel March, defending, told the court: ‘Ms Hiscoke is horrified. She is 57 years old and was highly emotional from the beginning of the day.

‘She had recently lost her guinea pig [which] she was deeply fond of. Every decision she made was driven by good intentions.

‘The advert for the Dobermann had missold her the type of dog she was getting. She deeply loved Harlow and has now learned to control the dog over the last 11 months.

‘She had a promising career in the Navy until she was medically discharged.

‘Suffering from chronic fatigue, she has a sad and isolated life with a great deal of depression. She is deeply sorry and ashamed.’

Harlow the Doberman bit the owner of the pet crematorium on the hand and little finger and bit a visitor on the thigh

Harlow the Doberman bit the owner of the pet crematorium on the hand and little finger and bit a visitor on the thigh 

Sentencing the emotional Ms Hiscoke, Judge Adam Feest KC said: ‘You were driven by emotion and the decisions you made were driven by panic and anxiety, and your dog got loose.

‘By the second incident, you had already seen the dog cause injury and you should have kept it under control.

‘You were remorseful, shocked and frightened by what happened.’

Judge Feest ruled that a decision on what to do with Harlow will be made at a later date after consultation with an expert witness. Until then, Harlow remains with Ms Hiscoke.

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