A WOMAN whose rottweiler attacked a housing officer has been found guilty of having a dangerous dog.

Brighton and Hove City Council housing officer Cheryl Moss was bitten when she was visiting Donna Stepney’s home in Woodingdean, Brighton, over complaints from neighbours about the dog barking.

In a shocking attack the dog bit Ms Moss on her arm, leaving her scarred.

A jury at Lewes Crown Court found Stepney, 37, guilty of being in charge of a dog dangerously out of control causing injury. She had denied the charge.

The court heard the rottweiler cross bull mastiff called Buddy looked “crazy” in the eyes, before lunging at Ms Moss.

Ms Moss and RSPCA inspector Elizabeth Miller visited the home in Ravenswood Drive on May 17 last year.

The prosecution said Stepney opened Buddy’s dog pen. He attacked the housing officer who was sitting on the sofa in the living room. Ms Moss said: “We were discussing complaints with Stepney about the noise and coming and goings, then after a while Buddy got on the sofa and sniffed my face and ear.

“A few minutes later he was back on the sofa and started to snarl and bark. At that point I looked into his face and his eyes looked crazy.

“I remember him being on me and put my arm up to my face.

“It was so horrific and it was blind panic. He was on me and the pain was bad. His jaws and teeth were on me.”

Ms Moss ended up going to hospital and had to take antibiotics. She said she was permanently scarred.

The court also heard from RSPCA inspector Elizabeth Miller who said the dog seemed more nervous compared to a previous visit and was being kept in a cage too small for its size.

She denied the defence’s claim that she had instructed Stepney to let Buddy out of his cage.

Stepney, who described the dog as her best friend, said she was told to let him out. She told the court: “I cannot remember her exact word but she did ask to see Buddy out the cage, then I took him out. RSPCA have authority to take the dog from me, so as she was a person in authority, I did what I had to do.”

She said three-year-old Buddy had only acted the way he did because Ms Moss raised her hand and he was protecting her after previously seeing her being attacked.

She added: “I was in shock to be honest. I being his owner I felt responsible but only because I was asked to, otherwise I would have let him stay in the cage for the ten minutes they were there.”

The Argus understands the dog is currently being kept in police kennels, and its fate will be determined at sentencing.

Stepney will be sentenced next month.