UK & World News
Dog Attack: Owner Admits Animal Cruelty
The owner of four dogs that mauled a 14-year-old girl to death has pleaded guilty to an animal cruelty offence.
Jade Lomas-Anderson, 14, died after she was attacked by two bull mastiffs and two Staffordshire bull terriers in Wigan, Greater Manchester.
Their owner, Beverley Concannon, of Almond Grove, Worsley Hall, Wigan, admitted causing unnecessary suffering to the animals - bull mastiffs Buddy and Neo and Staffordshire bull terriers Ty and Sky between July 19 last year and March 25 this year - that went on to kill the teenager.
The details of the charges were that she subjected the animals to "an environment that was detrimental to their well-being" and she knew or ought to have reasonably known what she had done.
The 45-year-old pleaded guilty to the offence during a hearing at Wigan Magistrates' Court on Tuesday.
The charge, brought under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, carries a maximum six-month prison sentence. She could also be fined and banned from keeping animals.
An alternative charge of not ensuring the welfare of the dogs between the same dates was dropped, as was a third count of causing unnecessary suffering on March 26 when the dogs were shot by the police.
Jade was visiting a friend at Concannon's former home in Chaucer Grove, Atherton, near Wigan, on that date when she was set upon by the dogs.
Police were called to the house following reports a girl was unconscious and a number of dogs were "out of control".
The teenager's body was found with injuries consistent with a dog attack, and armed officers shot dead the bull mastiffs and Staffordshire bull terriers at the scene.
Her mother, Shirley, and stepfather, Michael, who have launched a campaign for tougher laws around dangerous animal ownership, did not attend the hearing.
Paul Taylor, prosecuting, told the court the guilty plea was acceptable to the Crown.
He said the decision not to charge the defendant with manslaughter had been made at the "highest level" of the Crown Prosecution Service.
Adjourning proceedings, District Judge Mark Hadfield said: "This lady is of previous good character.
"The very, very serious nature of the offence means the court needs a report before sentence."
Concannon bowed her head in the dock throughout the brief hearing, and was granted unconditional bail until sentencing on October 18.