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Leeds dog maul death victim may have provoked animals with epileptic fit

Lee Horner. Picture: Ross Parry Agency

Lee Horner. Picture: Ross Parry Agency

A MUM who died after being attacked by dogs could have provoked the animals when she suffered an epileptic fit, a court has been told.

Emma Bennett, 27, died at hospital after receiving serious dog bites at an incident at her home on Dawlish Avenue, East End Park, Leeds, on December 9 last year.

She was expecting her fifth child at the time of the tragedy.

Her partner, Lee Horner, 33, appeared at Leeds Magistrates Court for the first time today charged with two counts of possessing dangerous dogs contrary to the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.

His solicitor, Adrian Pollard, told the court the case was “not straightforward” and there was a possibility Emma died after an epileptic fit led the dogs - Bella and Dollar - to see her as “prey”.

Mr Pollard said: “A dog behavioural expert called on by the police to examine the dogs says that these dogs were incredibly placid, which seems to be an odd

scenario.

“No matter what the expert did to make the dog aggressive or react, it didn’t matter what he did, banged about, stamped, did everything possible to aggravate the dogs - and they were extremely passive.

“In particular, Dollar looked frightened at the attempts to make her aggressive.

“What was thought is that all that can be imagined is that suddenly Emma, who I understand suffered from epilepsy, may well have had a fit.

“The dog behavioural expert suggested that if a person has a fit, it may be that that can be perceived in a way that a dog sees that person or that animal as prey, and that’s why they will react at that point, in that particular way.”

Mr Pollard asked for time to consult an expert on these findings.

He also added that there was a discrepancy as to the breed of dogs and whether they constituted “dangerous dogs” under the Act.

District Judge Marie Mallon adjourned the hearing and set a provisional trial date of April 3.

Horner, who wore a burgundy hoodie and blue tracksuit bottoms and sat silently through the hearing with his head down, was granted unconditional bail.

 
 
 

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