Dog walker must pay £3k after Alsatians mauled Yorkshire terrier

Professional dog walker must pay £3,000 after Alsatians Demon and Nuke he was training for Government security work mauled tiny Yorkshire terrier to death

  • Stuart Forster, 36, from Runcorn, admitted having dangerous dogs out of control
  • He was ordered to pay £3,000 and has since sold Demon to the Prison Service 

A professional dog trainer must pay £3,000 after two Alsatians he was training for Government security work mauled a tiny Yorkshire terrier to death whilst being taken for a walk.

Stuart Forster, 36, who also trains police sniffer dogs was taking German Shepherds Demon and Nuke through a public park on Bonfire Night when they suddenly pounced on the little terrier named Riley which was being walked by its female owner.

During the incident, one the dogs clamped its jaws around the Riley’s abdomen puncturing its chest and diaphragm whilst the other savaged its legs. The terrier died at the scene of its wounds despite efforts of its owner to intervene.

In the immediate aftermath of the attack, Forster, from Runcorn, Cheshire tried to dodge the blame by falsely claiming Riley was not on a lead. Neither of the Alsatians were tethered at the time. It emerged Forster’s animals had been involved in three previous incidents involving other dogs.

Father-of one-Forster has since sold Demon to the Prison Service for £2,000- and the dog is now working at Manchester jail formerly Strangeways.

In the immediate aftermath of the attack, Forster, from Runcorn, Cheshire tried to dodge the blame

At Crewe magistrates, Forster admitted having dangerous dogs out of control and was sentenced to a 20-week 7pm to 7am curfew.

He was also ordered to pay £1,220 in compensation to Riley’s owner, plus £1,910.61 in costs and a victim surcharge. Both animals were spared being put to sleep.

Kelly Thompson, prosecuting on behalf of Halton Borough Council, said: ‘At approximately 4.30pm on 5 November 2021, a Ms Snape was taking Riley, her four-year-old Yorkshire terrier for a walk.

READ MORE: Female dog walker, 28, who was killed by pack of eight animals died from ‘multiple bites to the neck’ and a wound to her jugular vein, inquest hears


‘Riley was wearing a lead and was under control. Ms Snape was getting a bag to pick-up Riley’s waste and saw two large Alsatian-type dogs, one black – Demon – and the other ginger and brown – Nuke – run towards them.

‘A male, identified as the defendant was heard shouting ‘Demon.’ The Alsatian-type dogs attacked – Demon pinned Riley down and had her in its mouth and Nuke was grabbing at Riley’s legs. Both Alsatian-type dogs were aggressive and showing their teeth.

‘She stood between the Alsatian-type dogs and tried to open Demon’s jaws to release Riley. She thought that Nuke was going to bite her arm because he was still trying to get Riley from Demon’s jaws. As both Alsatian-type dogs lunged forward, she lost her balance and fell over.

‘Demon ran off with Riley in its mouth towards the defendant. Demon then dropped Riley, who was lifeless.

‘After the incident, Ms Snape recalls the defendant saying that ‘Your dog should be on a f***ing lead.’ Ms Snape left the scene to find an officer, when she returned, she noticed Riley’s body had been turned to face the other way and the lead had been removed. A 15-year-old witness saw the defendant take the lead off.

‘A vet confirmed three puncture wounds on Riley’s body were consistent with a bite injury to the diaphragm and thorax causing internal bleeding and spontaneous death. The prosecution is aware of three previous incidents relating to the defendant’s dogs.’

Stuart Forster, 36, who also trains police sniffer dogs, was taking German Shepherds Demon and Nuke through a public park when the incident occurred

Forster pictured outside Crewe Magistrates Court where he admitted having dangerous dogs out of control and was sentenced to a 20-week 7pm to 7am curfew

The court heard in February 2021, another dog was attacked by Forster’s hounds and suffered puncture wounds to the back. The matter did not end up in the courts after he agreed to pay the £95 vet bill. Later that same month at Runcorn Town Park, a six-month old Doberman received two 1.5cm wounds on one shoulder and a 2cm wound on its other shoulder. The Doberman’s owner later made a civil claim against Forster.

A third incident involved Demon attacking a dog called Buddy which was dragged around in its mouth. There were wounds of approximately 8 cm and 4 cm and multiple other puncture wounds and Buddy had surgery under general anaesthetic at a cost of £500 which was paid by Forster.

Miss Thompson said Demon and Nuke were trained for employment in the security sector and were taught how to chase and bite if needed.

‘As such, the defendant knew the risks posed by his dogs and nonetheless, declined to use a muzzle, keep them on a lead and under control,’ the prosecutor said. ‘There was no evidence of provocation towards the dogs and there was a limited attempt from the defendant to regain control. The incident occurred in a public park on Bonfire night. A 15-year-old boy was present in the area and a dog died.’

‘The aggravating features in this case include the account that the defendant removed the lead from the deceased’s dog’s body to purportedly minimise his culpability. Ms Snape reports difficulty sleeping after the incident and has been prescribed sleeping tablets by her doctor. There was an awareness of what the dogs were capable of but nevertheless the dogs were off the lead and sadly poor Riley died.’

In mitigation Tom Worsfold, counsel for Forster said: ‘He trains security dogs but also other types of dogs, such as sniffer dogs. ‘They are trained to be deployed under professional contracts or for other companies. He has trained his dogs specifically for a particular purpose and for professional reasons.’

‘This was an incident which happened very quickly which got out of the control of the defendant. t was a momentary lapse of control or attention which had devastating consequences.

‘He is someone who wishes to express his genuine remorse. Every person with an interest in this case is undoubtedly a dog lover. He has spent his working life with dogs. He has been forced to reflect on the death of Riley and the circumstances.

‘He wishes to express his remorse for Miss Snape’s loss. He was able to sell Demon to the prison because he recognised the liability that Demon posed.. As the owner of the dog he wished to remove the liability from himself.

‘As any dog owner will recognise, giving away a dog is hard, especially when considering it was a best friend. He trains security dogs and he trains sniffer dogs as well. He has been involved in giving dogs to the police and prison service. This is a professional operation that is run properly. This incident does not reflect the working of his business on a day-to-day basis.

‘This is a man who knows about dogs. He has made a mistake and is clear that this is a warning shot to him. It is an experience that he has learnt from and continues to learn from.’

A probation report added: ‘Mr Forster’s account differs from that account from Riley’s owner. But he doesn’t want to take away from Ms Snape what happened. He was affected as well but if he was affected he cannot imagine what it would be like for her.

‘Demon was one of his best friends that he gave away, so he cannot imagine what happened in losing Riley.’

The magistrates made no order on Demon other than the prison service should notify Halton Borough Council on the dog’s retirement if there are any public safety concerns. However, a contingent destruction order was imposed on Nuke which included the clause that the dog should not be walked by anyone under the age of 18 or by anyone not suitably trained.

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