The dangerous Teesside dogs owners who failed to control their pets

In recent months, there have been several dangerous dog cases heard at courts on Teesside.

The courts have dealt with cases involving a variety of different breeds with some pets attacking other dogs, and even people.

Many of the dogs were put down after being dubbed a "danger to public safety" and some of the owners were handed prison sentences.

One of these was Matthew Graham who was handed a 27-month prison sentence after setting his hound Tyson on his former partner. Read the shocking case and others below:

Matthew Graham

Matthew Graham was caged last year after his former partner was mauled by his hound.

The Loftus defendant, was being arrested in his home when he "set his dog" on others, Teesside Crown Court heard. The attack took place on June 30, last year, in South Bank and left the woman with a serious wound to her calf.

A sentencing hearing heard Graham used his dog, Tyson, "as a weapon" during the incident on Passfield Crescent. Summarising the case, Judge A J Brown said: "You set this dog on people in your home resulting in your then partner sustaining what were in my opinion significant injuries.

"You used this dog as a weapon. You had been arrested you shouted for the dog you knew it would react in this way."

Graham, of Humber Close, pleaded guilty in the magistrates' court to being in charge of a dog dangerously out of control which caused injury. In mitigation, the court heard the defendant "functions at a much younger level" for his age.

His barrister, Andrew Turton, said he also suffers from schizophrenia but has never been formally diagnosed. He said his mental health deteriorated around the time of the offence and he was misusing drugs.

He said: "He is now free of heroin and has been for 12 months. He also reduced his methadone to nil."

The then 26-year-old - who has five previous convictions for nine offences - was handed a 27-month prison sentence. A "contingent destruction order" was made for Tyson.

Judge Brown said: "I agree with the police officer the blame lies primarily with you rather than the dog. The dog should not be the subject of an immediate destruction order.

"It should be castrated, muzzled and not kept by anyone under the age of 18. I also take the view you should be prohibited from caring for a dog until further order."

Amar Majid

A court ordered that Amar Majid's banned dog be destroyed after it was "dangerously out of control" in Middlesbrough.

Majid of Berwick Hills, appeared at Teesside Magistrates' Court via videolink from Durham Prison earlier this month to be sentenced for three offences. The defendant had two pit bull terrier dogs named Coco and Kilo - which are banned in the UK - at Middlesbrough, on November 14, 2023.

On the same date, one of the dogs Coco, was "dangerously out of control" and an order was made for it to be put down after being branded a "danger to public safety". The charges state:

  • On November 14, 2023, at Middlesbrough, were the owner of a dog, namely pit bull terrier named Coco, which was dangerously out of control on Marton Road, Middlesbrough.

  • Allow a fighting dog to be in public place without muzzle or lead. On 14 Nov 2023 at Middlesbrough in the county of Cleveland, being the owner of a dog to which section 1 of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 applied, namely pit bull terrier named Kilo, allowed it to be in a public place, namely Marton Road, without being muzzled.

  • Allow a fighting dog to be in public place without muzzle or lead. On 14 Nov 2023 at Middlesbrough in the county of Cleveland, being the owner of a dog to which section 1 of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 applied, namely pit bull terrier named Coco, allowed it to be in a public place, namely Marton Road, without being muzzled.

According to court documents, the Belle Vue Grove defendant admitted the three charges on June 6, and the dog was ordered to be euthanised. The result states: "Already had restriction in place and failed to comply resulting in commission of these offences - dog had negative behaviour reaction to the muzzling. Find dog constitutes danger to public safety."

The 35-year-old defendant was fined £200 and made to pay £85 court costs.

Stephen McCabe

In May last year, a dog which ran outside through an open door, and viciously attacked a delivery driver, was made subject of a destruction order.

Stephen McCabe's pet Belgian Malinois bit a neighbour twice on his arm before attacking a delivery driver on his legs and bum, at lunchtime on August 10, 2021. When the man kicked the three-and-a-half-year old dog away, he was attacked again. The dog bit him on his elbow and hand.

The driver said that McCabe, then 40, approached him and warned him "not to get the police involved as the dog was trained to attack" before inviting him inside for first aid. The man refused as the dog had now been caught and was inside McCabe's Coulby Newham home.

The driver was taken to James Cook University Hospital , in Middlesbrough , where he was treated for several puncture wounds and cuts to his thighs. McCabe told police that the dog had never attacked anyone before and that he had owned dogs all of his life, without a problem.

Simon Walker, defending McCabe, said that his client had been in bed at the time of the attack. "His mother answered the door to a neighbour. She wasn't able to entirely control the dog.

"The dog was for protection trained by a dog handler, but it's owner is not a dog handler. He has three other dogs in the home he shares with his mother and young daughter."

Mr McCabe previously told the court that his dog was trained to attack and let go, using trigger words: "I'm well educated in this breed. I understand that if these dogs are not trained properly they are a dangerous weapon in the wrong hands.

"My dog is trained to leave go. These dogs naturally protect their owners under all circumstances."

He pleaded guilty to to being the "owner or person in charge of a dog dangerously out of control causing injury." McCabe was handed a six-month jail term, suspended for 12-months. He was ordered to attend 15-rehabilitation days; and pay £187 in compensation to the delivery driver, from his state benefits.

Judge Howard Crowson issued a destruction order after hearing that the dog now suffers from epilepsy, and has several fits a day.

Tracy Basham

An order was made for a rescue dog to be destroyed in February after it clamped its jaw on the the arm of a 75-year-old man leaving him bruised, a court heard.

Apollo the Alaskan Malamute escaped from a garden in North Ormesby on August 14, last year, and attacked a pensioner outside his home. Teesside Crown Court heard the dog's owner Tracy Basham, had been disposing of a carpet and had accidently left the gate into the back alley open.

Prosecutor Rachel Masters said Basham usually secured her gate with a latch and lock but was making multiple trips and only using the latch. The prosecutor said Basham only noticed she had left the gate open when she returned to the house but it was too late, Apollo had escaped and attacked a neighbour.

Ms Masters said: "Apollo left the garden by the back gate and went into the rear alleyway. The dog approached [name of victim's] property and was standing in front of him.

"[Name of victim] shouted at the dog to shoo and go away but the dog growled at him and then attacked him. It latched its mouth onto his arm. He says this occurred for approximately five minutes before the dog moved on and bit [name of victim] on his left hand. He eventually managed to pull his arm away before Apollo ran off."

Ms Masters said the victim's arm was covered in bruises and he attended James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough, for treatment.

The court heard after the incident, the defendant posted a letter through her neighbour's door explaining that she was in "shock" and she asked him if there was anything she could do to help. Ms Masters said the defendant was interviewed by Cleveland Police on September 7, last year and made full admissions.

She told officers Apollo was a rescue dog and admitted he could be aggressive but said he had never bitten or injured anyone. The McCreton Street resident later pleaded guilty to being the owner/person in charge of dog dangerously out of control causing injury.

Judge Bennett sentenced the North Ormesby defendant to four months in prison suspended for 12 months. The then 54-year-old was ordered to complete 150 hours unpaid work and pay £500 compensation. A "destruction order" was made for Apollo. Judge Bennett said: "I'm afraid Apollo poses too much of a risk."