A former British rugby league star has been sentenced to 16 weeks in prison with a 12-month suspended sentence after his Border Collie sheepdog attacked a dog walker in a random attack.
Andy Gregory, Wigan’s former scrum half, admitted to running a dangerous dog out of control at Bolton Magistrates’ Court. He was also ordered to pay £1,000 in damages and is now required to walk Geordie with a leash and muzzle at all times under the terms of a contingency destruction order.
Simon Derbyshire suffered significant injuries to his legs and back in the attack. In a statement to police, he said: “At the time of the incident, I was in extreme pain. I was just trying to protect my dog, who is small and calm, from his dog.
“I now walk my dog at night because I am too afraid that I will run into the suspect and his dog during the day.”
Gregory, 61, from Ashton-in-Makerfield, Wigan, who won 26 GB caps and played for Widnes during the famous ‘Cup Kings’ era of the 1970s, is said to have watched Georgie tear up Mr Derbyshire.
Miss Tineka O’Mara Prosecution said: “On 26 October 2021, Mr Derbyshire was leaving his home about to go for a walk when he saw the defendant’s dog, which was off a lead.
“The dog came to him and Mr Derbyshire quickly picked up his own dog. At that moment, the defendant’s dog jumped at him and bit him on the back, lower leg and calf.
‘He stood and watched’
“According to Mr Derbyshire, the whole incident lasted about 15 seconds. During that time, the defendant stood by without offering any assistance.”
Mr Derbyshire was later taken to hospital for his injuries. The hospital bandaged him shortly after, but the wound on the back of his calf became infected. As a result, he had to be treated on that leg. As a result, he went to the hospital two to three times a week for six months.
“The defendant was arrested and taken to Wigan police station. He admitted he was sorry, but told (agents): ‘If I had intervened, it would have been much worse.’”
Meltingly, Ms Rosemary Proctor, the former player’s lawyer, said: “He fully understands what happened to Georgie is an offence. He knows it was against the law and he knows he can’t hide behind that
“As for Georgie, this is surprisingly strange for him. His references show him to be a docile, sociable animal who enjoys the company of others. He has so far effectively adhered to the contingent order. The real problem is that he was off a leash that day and he should have been.”
Conviction, JP Karen Martin said: “After careful consideration, we feel this has crossed the custody threshold. This dog was dangerously out of control at the time and caused serious injury to this person. But the sentence can be suspended.”