A woman ended up in court after her dogs launched a savage attack on sheep.
Former Olympic horse riding hopeful Charlotte Springall’s labradors “mauled and maimed” a family’s sheep, leaving one witness fearing the animals would “die right in front of her eyes”.
Southampton Magistrates’ Court heard that the dogs, called Strife and Jemmima, savaged the sheep in an enclosure, amid waves of “frenzied barking”.
Springall denied that her dogs were involved and her defence solicitor told the trial, proceedings fighting the case had cost her “thousands of pounds”.
She also denied two further charges of owning a dog dangerously out of control.
’There was blood all over the sheep’
Witness Joanne Ingram lived near the enclosure and said the incident was a “bloodbath”.
She added: “I could hear this barking. It wasn’t normal dog barking...it was frightening.
“I ran outside to get a better idea of what was happening and when I got to the enclosure I chased the two dogs away.”
Ms Ingram added: “I went inside and the sheep were cowering in the corner. There was blood all over the sheep - their fleece and throats were in tatters with blood running all down their legs.”
Springall, a self confessed “animal lover”, was close to qualifying for London 2012 but had her dreams dashed after her horse Folds Gretna Vow died in unexplained circumstances.
The 41-year-old, of Giles Lane, Landford, is a former rider for the British team and has her own equestrian firm in which she teaches children and families how to ride.
Prosecuting Lucy Conroy told the court that the two dogs had belonged to Springall and that they had escaped from the defendant’s property on May 22, 2016 - something Springall denied, although she did admit her dogs had escaped previously.
Springall said “she did not walk the dogs” as she had “a garden big enough for them”.
The court heard earlier this year, Jemmima died following a road collision.
District Judge Greenfield found in favour of Hampshire Constabulary and ordered Springall to use a lead and a muzzle when walking Strife. He added that the dogs were considered “dangerous”.
Springall was also ordered to pay £250 costs.