#TheList backyard breeder Alex Johnson, born c. 1989, of Elmsmere Road, Stoke-on-Trent ST2 8EFT – banned from keeping dogs after police found videos of him allowing canines to jump up and bite padded arm sleeves.
Police officers launched their investigation when a dog that Alex Johnson was looking after bit a woman’s arm, leaving her with puncture wounds.
It led them to videos of the defendant allowing a dog to scale a fence in pursuit of a toy and another of a dog jumping up and biting an arm sleeve as a whip was cracked to the floor.
But Johnson – who also works as a dog photographer and bare-knuckle fighter – says the footage was linked to his involvement in organised dog sports.
North Staffordshire Justice Centre heard the woman was bitten by a Bully XL called Loyal at 2.30 pm on June 16, 2018.
Prosecutor Tom Griffiths said: “The defendant told it to sit and when she went past, it bit her on the arm.”
Staffordshire Police applied for Johnson to be hit with a five-year dog ban – and backed up their application with three videos featuring Johnson and dogs.
One of them featured a Dutch Herder which the defendant said had been with the Slovakian army. Footage showed Johnson walking up and down with the dog as it displayed its ability to understand commands. It was also seen to run towards a man with a padded sleeve which the animal bit onto while a whip was being cracked.
Another video showed the defendant wearing an arm sleeve which his own dog jumped up to bite. Another clip showed Johnson’s dog on a treadmill.
Mr Griffiths said two of the videos showed the animals being antagonised.
Commenting on the clip of Johnson’s own dog, he added: “He wants a reaction and he’s trained it to be aggressive. He is not a fit and proper person to have dogs.”
The court heard Johnson has also bought into a company specialising in canine supplements. He says the footage of the Dutch Herder was put together because he was selling the dog and one buyer had requested to see more of the animal’s training.
He said: “The dog was as friendly as anything and was not a protection dog. All I did was keep up her training. She was friendly and everyone on the estate loved playing with her.”
Referring to the videos of his own dog, Johnson said: “I have had no issues with her. It’s ridiculous to say she’s trained to fight, anybody that knows anything about that breed knows they are not for fighting, she is a Pocket Bully. I breed small versions of Bullys.
“The whip crack is so they are not scared. When I go to seminars I always take her with me. All our puppies are used to different noises so when they go to new homes we don’t get complaints.
“My training is basic and the bite side of things I go to seminars. The training I do is obedience – sit, stay and heel. I go to organised events.”
Johnson admitted being in charge of a dog dangerously out of control on Priory Road, Abbey Hulton, on June 16. But a trial was held regarding the possible disqualification.
District Judge Timothy Boswell said: “The footage shows the dogs behaving in ways that are dangerous and the way you are encouraging them to behave potentially makes them dangerous, by encouraging them to jump up and bite.
“You and other men are having to wear arm sleeves – people don’t normally walk up and down the street with an arm sleeve in case a dog bites them.
“The dogs on the footage are behaving in dangerous ways and it is appropriate to disqualify you from having custody of a dog for five years.”
Sentencing: 40 hours of unpaid work; £85 victim surcharge. Banned from keeping dogs for five years.
On 2 November 2019 it was reported that Johnson had lost his appeal to have his five-year ban overturned.