Ex-Man Utd player’s XL Bully attack had man thinking ‘my dog is going to die’

An ex-Manchester United footballer has been fined after his XL bully bit a labrador and its owner in a vicious attack.

Wayne Heseltine's dog Bruno had to be pulled off the labrador, called Daisy, by her horrified owner who thought he was 'going to watch her die'. Bradford Magistrates Court heard two-year-old Bruno sprinted towards Daisy while she was on a walk with her owner in the Cullingworth area of the city on June 24.

Bruno appeared to lock his jaw around Daisy's neck, leaving her helpless on the floor, the court was told. Heseltine's son then came out of the house and helped pull the two dogs apart.

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Heseltine, who was out of the house at the time, admitted to being the owner of a dog which was dangerously out of control causing injury and was fined £960.

The former full back, who came through the Red Devils' youth academy but never made a first team appearance, also has to pay £1,000 in compensation. Daisy was taken to the vets for cuts on her neck, while her owner sustained injuries to his hand.

In a statement read out in court, the victim said: "I felt extremely distressed. I felt like I was going to watch Daisy die." Heseltine, who was not at the house at the time, said the dog escaped through a hole in the fence behind the bin store. He also wanted to pay for the vet bills.

The court heard he had no previous convictions and a "shield of good character". He owns three other dogs and spent £2,800 on a four-week course to get Bruno home-trained.

Heseltine, who played more than 50 games for Bradford City between 1992 and 1994, now earns around £50,000 a year as a contract manager, the court heard. The court heard magistrates recognised Heseltine had taken all the reasonable steps that a good owner would have taken.

But they said the matter was "serious" and referenced the breed of dog as in the public interest given the imminent legislation.

An order was issued meaning the dog must have a muzzle and lead on when in public. American XL Bully dogs will be banned by the end of the year, PM Rishi Sunak announced in September after a spate of terrifying attacks involving the breed.

The PM said the breed will be outlawed under the Dangerous Dogs Act. From December 31, XL bully dogs must be microchipped, and owners must keep them on a lead and muzzled in public. They must also be securely housed at home.

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