“He doesn’t deserve to die.”
That is the plea from the owner of a dog which faces being put down, after carrying out a series of savage attacks in Southampton.
Paul Ward, who has owned Japanese Akita cross-breed, Samson, for eight years, said he was “very upset” about the incidents, which saw a victim as young as four years old bitten by the dog.
But Mr Ward, 50, of Laundry Road, in Shirley Warren, said the 14-stone animal is no longer a danger to the public and should not face the death penalty.
He is now living in a house with his pet and does not allow it to come into contact with members of the public.
He has even erected a 6ft metal fence around the garden to prevent Samson from getting out.
As reported in the Daily Echo, Mr Ward was living in a caravan in Chilworth, with his step-daughter, Katie Ward, 17, when the attacks happened. He had been evicted from his home, in Honeysuckle Road in December 2010.
“I’m very upset that this happened, but in my defence I did what I could,” Paul said.
“I put fencing up around the caravan myself and I was there 23 out of 24 hours a day with him. The only time I left him was to give my step-daughter a lift to and from work.
“We’ve had the dog since he was a puppy and he had never been a problem until then.
“He’s been well looked after, he’s been calm and he’s never tried to get out of the garden.
“I am a responsible dog owner and now that we are back in a house, he is not a danger at all.
“I will make sure this does not happen again.”
Southampton Crown Court heard how Samson faces being put down, after a t t a c k i n g three members of the public.
Bailiff Timothy Walker, 62, needed 37 stitches after being mauled when he attempted to evict Mr Ward from outside Chilworth Science Park, in February 2011.
And after pitching up on grass verge in Bracken Place, Chilworth, the following month, 17-year-old student Harry Barron was bitten on the hand.
Mr Ward said he would be “devastated” if Samson was put down.
“That would be so hard to deal with because Samson doesn’t deserve to die,” he added.
“He’s a good dog and he’s done nothing wrong, I feel.”
The court is due to rule on Samson’s fate in March.